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  • LESTER HOLT, reporting: It's one of the most exciting chases in the NFL--

  • a receiver or running back making a bee-line for the end zone,

  • with the defender in hot pursuit.

  • HARDY NICKERSON (Former NFL Linebacker): You identify the

  • ball carrier. From there you want to close the distance between yourself

  • and the ball carrier as quickly as possible.

  • Dr. JOHN ZIEGERT (Clemson University): They have to choose

  • what direction and speed to run so that they get to the same

  • place at the same time as the runner and can make the tackle.

  • HOLT: In football, the path the defender must take to intercept

  • the ball carrier is called the "angle of pursuit."

  • According to John Ziegert, an automotive engineer at Clemson

  • University, this path is also a perfect illustration of a

  • fundamental equation in geometry called the Pythagorean Theorem,

  • discovered by the Greek mathematician Pythagoras

  • more than 1,700 years ago.

  • ZIEGERT: Pythagorean Theorem is a basic theorem in plane

  • geometry or Euclidean geometry that relates the lengths of the

  • sides of any triangle where one of the angles is 90 degrees,

  • called a right triangle.

  • HOLT: On a right triangle, the two adjacent sides,

  • A and B, are called the legs.

  • The longer side opposite the right angle, C, is called the hypotenuse.

  • The Pythagorean Theorem simply states A-squared plus B-squared

  • equals C-squared.

  • ZIEGERT: The square of the hypotenuse, the length of the hypotenuse,

  • is equal to the sum of the squares of the lengths of the other two sides.

  • HOLT: Relating this to football, let's say the ball carrier is

  • heading for the end zone 40 yards away.

  • The defender stands 30 yards away and needs to intercept him.

  • If these two distances are the legs of a right triangle,

  • then the distance the defender needs to run is the hypotenuse.

  • Using the Pythagorean Theorem, 30 yards times 30 yards added to

  • 40 yards times 40 yards will give the length of the hypotenuse squared.

  • To get the actual length, take the square root.

  • ZIEGERT: Forty squared plus 30 squared is equal to 2500, which is 50 squared.

  • So the distance of the hypotenuse is 50 yards.

  • NICKERSON: You got to be precise in what you are doing and you

  • have to take the right angles especially in coverage.

  • HOLT: NFL players must react instinctively to cover this

  • distance--and also gauge how fast they need to run to match

  • their opponent's speed.

  • ZIEGERT: The defender now, if he chooses that angle of pursuit,

  • he says, "Okay, I've got to cover this distance in the same

  • amount of time it takes the runner to cover this distance.”

  • NICKERSON: If you are chasing a fast guy like a Marshall Faulk

  • or you know some of those guys that can really burn.

  • You know if you take the wrong angle, you're done.

  • HOLT: The defender's angle of pursuit can be the difference

  • between a touchdown and a game-saving tackle.

  • It's also a perfect illustration of the properties of a right

  • triangle, and the ABC's of the Pythagorean Theorem.

LESTER HOLT, reporting: It's one of the most exciting chases in the NFL--


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畢達哥拉斯定理 - NFL足球的科學原理 (The Pythagorean Theorem - Science of NFL Football)

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    HK Li 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日