When the NFL created the combine in 1985, the 40 was the centerpiece. It has remained the centerpiece, providing us historical reference, and a pure test of athleticism.
This time of year everyone in the football world is talking about “the 40”. “The 40” is a 40 yard sprint that all football players have been measured by since the beginning of time it seems. If you’re like me you might have at one point in time asked, “why the 40”. Seriously, why not 100 or 50? How did football come up with this seemingly arbitrary distance to measure a player.
It all started with Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown. It very simply had to do with the distance of covering a punt. That simple way of evaluating a player has become a focal point for players at all levels.