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Sport Science: Human vs. Bow

Cosmic Variance
By Sean Carroll
Feb 4, 2010 8:02 PMNov 20, 2019 3:14 AM


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Super Bowl Sunday is, of course, the great American holiday. Past years have seen inspirational performances by Joe Namath, Joe Montana, and Janet Jackson. This year pits the New Orleans Saints against the Indianapolis Colts. New Orleans, of course, is known as a city of saintly behavior, while Indianapolis's claim to fame involves horsepower in some tangential way. When faced with contests of ritualized violence, we like to look for the science. So check out this video of Saints quarterback Drew Brees participating in a rigorous laboratory experiment by throwing the ol' pigskin at an archery target. Joking aside, that is some pretty sick accuracy there. Impressive that a human arm beats a bow and arrow for accuracy (although it's not completely clear that the distances and conditions were perfectly analogous). All in the wobble, apparently. But if I were defending my castle from the barbarian hordes or something, I'd still prefer archers over some guys throwing footballs.

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