T Nation

NHL vs. NFL 40 Yard?

OK, the WAAF radio morning show (in MA.) was having a debate and may turn this debate into a charity event…

Who would have a faster 40, fastest NFL player of any position or the fastest skater in the NHL any position.

Let’s say there was a 60x3 yard strip of turf/grass alongside a 60x3 yard strip of ice. I was told that it could be done fairly easily with the ice tech that’s out there etc.

NFL guy in game footwear and NHL guy on skates. Best starting position for each guy as determined by him.

I’d say no game-specific gear save for footwear ie; shorts/sweats, no helmet.

Or perhaps no gear and full gear drag races and other scenarios given adequate rest times.

Any opinions or previous studies I’m unaware of?

I would guess the NFL sprinter would win. Not necessarily because he’s faster, but I think it’s probably much harder to get a fast start on ice than on foot. I’ve never been on ice though, so I could be totally wrong.

Skating. I don’t think it’d even be close.

The world record for 500m is under 40 seconds and the 1500m record is under 2 minutes for skating, way faster than one can run.

Although actually now that I think about it, skaters might accelerate a little bit slower. So over 40yd, it would probably be close. I think think a skater would win though. Be interesting to watch.

intresting debate, id say the nfl player gets a much quicker start but once the hockey guy gets some momentum the nfl player is in trouble. In a 40 i think the Nfl player would win but if u lengthen the track, advantage goes to the hockey player

I know a skater can get a MUCH faster top speed but the 40 is a pure sprint. The first 10 yards would be the determinant IMO. The blades of a hockey skate get very good traction as long as the blades are angled out enough to each side. That however reduces the optimum power that could be put to the ice due to the “sideways” push-off needed to get that traction.

The sprinter would probably win in a 40 and I would guess a hockey player would definitely win in a 60. Because once that hockey player gets some velocity going, for the most part he is just adding to and already fast moving object not worrying about keeping his speed. Tough to call though, I could see It going either way. Hockey is the worst cross-training activity.

[quote]vicktimised wrote:
intresting debate, id say the nfl player gets a much quicker start but once the hockey guy gets some momentum the nfl player is in trouble. In a 40 i think the Nfl player would win but if u lengthen the track, advantage goes to the hockey player[/quote]

This post hit it on the head. The 40 is all about acceleration. In fact, according to the big-time coaches (e.g., DeFranco, Baggett), elite athletes don’t ever reach their top speed in a 40 (they hit top speed at around 60 meters (65 yds)).

Running on turf in cleats will provide optimal conditions for acceleration given that there is good deal of friction. Skates and ice have a relative lack lack of friction, which allows a large output for relatively little energy expenditure. Therefore, would probably be far less taxing to skate a mile than it would be to run one.

But when it comes to accelerating, a lack of friction seems to be the enemy. Think of starting to accelerate your car when its icy. Push the gas too hard too fast and your wheels will spin. So a skater probably can’t go stir crazy in trying to accelerate without spinning his wheels, so to speak. I gotta think that the heavy skates won’t help either. The NFL dude would probably win by at least 5 yds. if not 10. Once the skater got rolling, however, he would overtake the NFL runner. The longer the distance the more likely that is to happen; maybe at 60 meters they’d tie.

No contest in a 40yd race. The NFL guy wins as he isn’t on ice!

60yd the NFL guy would win imo. But the longer the race the better the chance the NHL guy will win and he’ll almost certainly win the longer distances.

Koing

I don’t know who’d win.

I think against my self I’d probably run 40y faster, but soon after that I’d be faster skating.

[quote]Koing wrote:
No contest in a 40yd race. The NFL guy wins as he isn’t on ice!

60yd the NFL guy would win imo. But the longer the race the better the chance the NHL guy will win and he’ll almost certainly win the longer distances.

Koing[/quote]

I’m not so sure about the “no contest” part. A hockey player basically runs on the ice with his blades angled out so the blades dig in and bite hard.

I think some guys may be picturing a skater “skating” off the start line but he’s actually running on it at first.

[quote]derek wrote:
Koing wrote:
No contest in a 40yd race. The NFL guy wins as he isn’t on ice!

60yd the NFL guy would win imo. But the longer the race the better the chance the NHL guy will win and he’ll almost certainly win the longer distances.

Koing

I’m not so sure about the “no contest” part. A hockey player basically runs on the ice with his blades angled out so the blades dig in and bite hard.

I think some guys may be picturing a skater “skating” off the start line but he’s actually running on it at first.[/quote]

I agree. You can build a hell of a lot of speed very quickly on the ice.

“It is estimated that elite skaters skate about 116 to 120 meters every lap.”

http://www.sportresult.com/federations/ISU/index.asp?SUBSPORTID=5&VIEW=RESULTS&SCOPE=0&EVENTID=8810&ACTIVITYID=9990&HEATID=9999&SUMMARY=1&HEATCODE=371_439_8810_9990_9999

Check those splits out… first lap, the best guys are going under 7 seconds and everybody’s under 8 seconds.

You mean to tell me someone skating 120 meters (in a circle nonetheless) in 7 seconds isn’t going to be able to crank out the first 36 meters in under 4.3?

1 Like

[quote]jtrinsey wrote:
“It is estimated that elite skaters skate about 116 to 120 meters every lap.”

http://www.sportresult.com/federations/ISU/index.asp?SUBSPORTID=5&VIEW=RESULTS&SCOPE=0&EVENTID=8810&ACTIVITYID=9990&HEATID=9999&SUMMARY=1&HEATCODE=371_439_8810_9990_9999

Check those splits out… first lap, the best guys are going under 7 seconds and everybody’s under 8 seconds.

You mean to tell me someone skating 120 meters (in a circle nonetheless) in 7 seconds isn’t going to be able to crank out the first 36 meters in under 4.3?[/quote]

That is interesting and very compelling information. The only question I bring up is how much different would it be for an NHL athlete in NHL gear, as apposed to an olympic skater in a spandex speed suit and purely speed built equipment?

The winning time in the NHL skills competition every year is about 14 seconds for one lap around the ice.

Here is the layout of an NHL rink:

http://www.nhl.com/rules/pop/rink.html

Here is a poor quality video of Ovechkin skating in the fastest skater competition:

Unfortunately, they start at centre ice, making the first 40 yards not in a straight line. However, he’s in the opposite corner by about 4 seconds on the video.

You be the judge.

[quote]wbfalcon79 wrote:

That is interesting and very compelling information. The only question I bring up is how much different would it be for an NHL athlete in NHL gear, as apposed to an olympic skater in a spandex speed suit and purely speed built equipment?[/quote]

Well obviously that’d be different. But then again, by that argument, you’d have to make the NFL guy run in full pads and football cleats.

I mean, I have no affiliation with skating, so I could be talking out of my ass here… but just based off the times it seems like a skater would smoke a runner of equal qualification.

The distance is slightly further than goal line to far blue line. I think 40 meters would be right around the break even distance before the nhler took the lead.
Once my groin heals I’ll test both the 40 on and off ice with my definitely non-NHL/NFL ass and see how it looks for me.

I don’t see anyway the NFL’er could win this. The best skaters in the NHL can get to top speed in 3-5 strides. That means probably 15-20 yards max. No way the NFL’er could match an NHL’ers top speed and any gain they got in the early stage would be wiped away quickly.

My thinking, if I can get it across here is this; A hockey skater would be accelerating all the way to 40 and beyond.

I believe a sprinter (football player caliber) reaches top speed before the 40. Which makes his start and first 10 yards so important.

I don’t think the [possible] better start on grass could make up for the skaters continual acceleration.

– Unfortunately, they start at centre ice, making the first 40 yards not in a straight line. –

in the puck control relay, the skaters sprint from goal line to goal line to gain control of the puck, so that would be a good place to look for footage. i’ve seen footage of the flyers’ sami kapanen (a very explosive skater) go end to end in about 6-7 seconds. i have no idea what the 40 yard dash time for an NFL’er would be.

-edit-

found this vid:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLNrHH1PBSU

all of the forwards involved are pretty fast skaters. of them st louis is probably the fastest (3rd skater on the near side), and he goes from goal line to far blue line in about 4 seconds. that’s a distance of about 114’.

[quote]derek wrote:
My thinking, if I can get it across here is this; A hockey skater would be accelerating all the way to 40 and beyond.

I believe a sprinter (football player caliber) reaches top speed before the 40. Which makes his start and first 10 yards so important.

I don’t think the [possible] better start on grass could make up for the skaters continual acceleration.

[/quote]

Whether it settles the matter or not, I want to point out that neither one–the skater or the sprinter–would reach top speed in 40 yards. The sprinter is perhaps much closer to his top speed, however.

The more I think about this, the more I think that it would almost be a tie. If a fast hockey player can cover 114’ in 4 seconds (38 yds.) and one of the fastest men in the NFL can do 40 yds. in 4.2 or 4.25 seconds, then the nod goes to the skater, but it would be very, very close.

Maybe we should make the NFL dude run on ice and the skater “skate” on turf?