Geometry Teachers Make Great Football Coaches

For every youth football coach trying to teach angle of pursuit to defensive players, watching the DeAngelo Williams highlight reel from last season’s Panthers-Saints game demonstrates the right way and the wrong way of chasing down a ball-carrier.

Midway through the second quarter, Williams breaks through the Saints line heading for the end zone 65 yards away. Roman Harper, the Saints’ veteran strong safety, takes the proper angle and is able to push Williams out of bounds at the 1-yard line.

In the third quarter, Williams gets his revenge when he takes the ball 54 yards up the middle for a touchdown, leaving the Saints secondary chasing behind. Three defenders underestimated Williams’ speed, and before they could adjust their angles, it was too late.

While it may come as a shock to young players, there is real-life geometry happening in these types of plays, and now researchers from Ohio State University have found that our brains can solve these pursuit puzzles using not only our vision but also our hearing.

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