Did you hear the one about the MacArthur genius physicist and the NFL coach? Read more...
Did you hear the one about the MacArthur genius physicist and the NFL coach? It s not a joke. It s actually an innovative way to understand chaos theory, and the remarkable complexity of modern professional football.
In Newton s Football, journalist and New York Times bestselling author Allen St. John and TED Speaker and former Yale professor Ainissa Ramirez explore the unexpected science behind America s Game. Whether it s Jerry Rice finding the common ground between quantum physics and the West Coast offense or an Ivy League biologist explaining at a granular level exactly how a Big Mac morphs into an outside linebacker, Newton s Football illuminates football and science through funny, insightful stories told by some of the world s sharpest minds.
With a clear-eyed empirical approach and an exuberant affection for the game St. John and Ramirez address topics that have long beguiled scientists and football fans alike, including:
the unlikely evolution of the football (or, as they put it, The Divinely Random Bounce of the Prolate Spheroid )
what Vince Lombardi has in common with Isaac Newton
how the hardwired behavior of monkeys can explain a head coach s reluctance to go for it on fourth-down
why a gruesome elevator accident jump-started the evolution of placekicking
how Teddy Roosevelt saved football using the same behavioral science concept that Dreamworks would use to save Shrek
why woodpeckers don t get concussions
how better helmets actually made the game more dangerous
Every Sunday the NFL shares a secret with only its savviest fans: The game isn t just a clash of bodies, it s a clash of ideas. The greatest minds in football have always possessed an instinctual grasp of science, understanding the big ideas and gritty realities that inform the game s rich past, as well as its increasingly uncertain future.
Blending smart reporting, counterintuitive creativity, and compelling narrative, Newton s Football takes gridiron analysis to the next level, giving fans a book that entertains, enlightens, and explains the game anew.
Praise for Newton s Football
It was with great interest that I read Newton s Football. I m a fan of applying of science to sport and Newton s Football truly delivers. The stories are as engaging as they are informative. This is a great read for all football fans. Mark Cuban
A delightfully improbable book putting science nerds and sports fans on the same page. Booklist
This breezily-written but informative book should pique the interest of any serious football fan in the twenty-first century. The American Spectator
The authors have done a worthy job of combining popular science and sports into a work that features enough expertise on each topic to satisfy nerds and jocks alike. . . . The writers succeed in their task thanks to in-depth scientific knowledge, a wonderful grasp of football s past and present, interviews with a wide array of experts, and witty prose. . . . Newton s Football is] fun and thought-provoking, proving that football is a mind game as much as it is a ball game. Publishers Weekly"
- ISBN-13: 9780345545145
- ISBN-10: 0345545141
- Publisher: Ballantine Books
- Publish Date: November 2013
- Page Count: 250
- Dimensions: 9.53 x 6.34 x 0.94 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.03 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-10-14
- Reviewer: Staff
In this collaboration, journalist St. John (The Billion Dollar Game and Clapton’s Guitar) and scientist Ramirez (Save Our Science) have taken scientific equations and theories and applied them to the “bone-crushing” sport of football. The authors have done a worthy job of combining popular science and sports into a work that features enough expertise on each topic to satisfy nerds and jocks alike. That means comparing the West Coast offense’s need for “quarterbacks to think like a computer” to Boolean algebra and its use of ones and zeros, and likening the no-huddle offense to chaos theory. The writers succeed in their task thanks to in-depth scientific knowledge, a wonderful grasp of football’s past and present, interviews with a wide array of experts, and witty prose (as when the authors ask, “How—on a granular level—do two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun turn into a future NFL Hall of Famer?”). While some chapters—like those devoted to figuring out which player Sir Isaac Newton would draft first or how kids should learn how to tackle—aren’t as successful at demonstrating the connection between science and football, they are, like the rest of this work, fun and thought-provoking, proving that football is a mind game as much as it is a ball game. Agents: (for Ramirez) Laura Wood, FinePrint Literary; (for St. John) Jason Allen Ashlock, Moveable Type Management. (Dec.)