High-pointing a football?

Today is one of the high points of the American sports calendar: the AFC and NFC championship games to determine who plays in the Super Bowl.

A major pet peeve of mine while watching sports on TV: football announcers who “explain” that a receiver made a great reception because “he caught the ball at its highest point.”

Ignoring the effects of air resistance, the trajectory of a thrown football is parabolic, and the ball is the essentially the same height above the ground when it is either thrown or caught. (Yes, there might be a difference of at most three feet, but that’s negligible compared to the distance that a football is typically thrown.) Therefore, a football reaches the highest point of its trajectory approximately halfway between the quarterback and the receiver.

And anyone who can catch the ball that far above the ground should be immediately tested for steroids.

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  1. 250,000 page views | Mean Green Math

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