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Hand-Timing 40s at the Combine: Does it make any sense?

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  • Hand-Timing 40s at the Combine: Does it make any sense?

    Every year, I see dozens (if not hundreds) of team employees sitting in the stands at Lucas Oil stadium hand-timing prospects while they run the 40.

    Couldn't a good digital camera with a time stamp on it do the same thing, and much more accurately? Simple enough to go back to the "tape" and see exactly when the prospect started, and exactly when they crossed the finish line. Is there something that I'm missing here?

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  • #2
    I think the NFL bans the use of smart phones due to the video capabilities.

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    • #3
      I've always timed the 40-yard dashes by . . . "One banana, two banana, three banana."

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Requiem View Post
        I've always timed the 40-yard dashes by . . . "One banana, two banana, three banana."
        Lol. I was always a "one Mississippi, two Mississippi..." kind of guy.

        BowlenBall, I've heard some of the old school guys say they trust their own timing over anything else. Doesn't seem efficient to me though.

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        • #5
          It has never made sense to me other than they are bored. The official 40 times are posted for everyone to see and even broken into segments.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by qbronco View Post
            It has never made sense to me other than they are bored. The official 40 times are posted for everyone to see and even broken into segments.
            Calvin Austin ran a 4.12 40 but the clock didn't stop until 4.32

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            • #7
              I guess NFL teams still like to use the hand-timed results because even the 'official' electronic times are subjective. The official number has the finish point recorded electronically, but the start is still hand timed. Teams would have to trust 100% that the hand-timed start of the run is always accurate. The NFL considered adopting a fully automated timing, but it would make the official times considerably slower, which would make players look bad and probably increase the amount of players skipping the 40-yard dash at the Combine. So the NFL likes to see these fast times and how much interest they generate, and in the end teams have different ways to come up with their own 'official' times.

              https://bleacherreport.com/articles/...times-recorded

              Since 1999, the NFL has used partially electronic timing to determine 40-yard times at the combine. The start of the run is timed by hand, but the finish is recorded electronically using a laser "plane" that runs across the finish line.

              That "unofficial" time is then adjusted (presumably to compensate for the reaction time of the hand-timed start), and the "official" combine time that the media and fans drool over is then determined.
              Here is what happens to get the 40 times at the Combine that are revealed:

              --Those who participate in the 40 actually run twice, and on each run they are timed by two hand-held stopwatches and one electronic timer (that is actually initiated by hand on the player's first movement).

              --Combine data put together for NFL teams by National Scouting includes all six of those times for each player, but no single official time.

              Team scouts and coaches have various approaches for reaching agreement on a 40 time they use from those six timings. Some use averages. Some throw out slowest and fastest and then average the rest. Some ignore the whole thing and use a time taken by their own scout.
              The most accurate method of timing the 40-yard dash would be Fully Automated Timing, where lasers are used at both the beginning and end of the race.

              The NFL experimented with FAT at the 2012 combine. However, those results weren't released, as according to Rang's report there was a concern that those times, which were expected to be considerably slower, could rankle players:

              According to coaches and scouts who discussed this with The Sports Xchange, the FAT times are expected to be .20 to .24 seconds slower than the relative times recorded using methods the Combine has gone with since 1990, and before.

              "We were told it is just an experiment and we won't be told the results," said one team official. "People are worried about the reaction players may have if the 40 times change that much."

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              • #8
                They just need to do away with the 40 and have GPS on all the players helmets in college. Tell us how fast they are in game, how quick to change direction, acceleration, etc.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by qbronco
                  It has never made sense to me other than they are bored.




                  I wouldn't trust any of the Ne'er-do-wells in the stadium there.

                  Look closely...it's a buncha HS dropouts! The guy with red arrow is picking his nose!

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                  • #10
                    Seems inefficient, but there is something to be said about a slow first step and more open speed. Nobody gets that stance and untouched first 5-10 yards. The back 30 is true speed. So I could see how the old school method has some value…. I guess… sort of….

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