/Here comes football Super-sized and then some

Here comes football Super-sized and then some

Only seven Mississippi State football players weighed more than 200 pounds. Only two Ole Miss Rebels were 200 pounds or greater. Compare: The 2016 Mississippi State roster includes 20 Bulldogs weighing 300 or more, and 38 Bulldogs weighing 250 or greater. On the current Ole Miss roster, there are 12 players who weigh 300 or more and 29 who weigh 250 or more. Fast food terms refer to football players as being super-sized. Our gladiators have evolved from Krystal burgers and double whoppers. On average, the four current Mississippi State quarterbacks weigh 237 pounds. This is 22 pounds more than the heaviest player of 1945. Scientists and dieticians don’t have to tell us why. One thing is for certain, people are getting bigger. This is what you need to know: The average American woman’s weight today (166 pounds) has the same body mass as the man fifty years ago. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is true. The average man’s weight has increased from 166 to 194. The average weight of a professional lineman football has increased from 220 to almost 320 pounds since 1950. Today’s guard is twice as tall as the guard of old. Another way to view it: Sports writers today are more powerful than those who covered the game in 1945. (Insert joke regarding press box hot dogs. Players today not only eat more but also lift more weights and build more muscle. Today’s 300-pounders are not necessarily more fat than those who weighed 200 pounds 60 and 70 years ago. However, diet and strength training are not responsible for the size increase. The game itself has changed. S. J. Carroll, a giant at 215 lbs, was expected to play 60 minutes back in the day. Defensive tackles could also play defensive tackle. Fullbacks played linebacker. Quarterbacks were doubled as safeties. Halfbacks were usually cornerbacks, and so forth. This was before liberalized substitution laws. Both sides could play. Unless you were hurt, or your team was far ahead or behind, you didn’t get out of the game. If offensive tackles of 330 pounds could also play defensive tackle, how long would they last? You can ask this question better: What would you weigh 330 pounds if a 330-pound tackle weighed 330? Answer: Not very long. The game of football has evolved in many ways. They throw it better. They huddle less. They stop the clock more often. The players are more skilled. Dick Butkus is the most well-known and respected linebacker. He would probably be replaced by a defensive player if he played today. This writer is only old enough to recall one-platoon football. It was played in the third week of September and games lasted for two hours. There was no TV timeout. Night games began at 8 o’clock and end at 10 o’clock, or at the same time that today’s 6:30 games. When a referee raised his hands and signaled “Touchdown”, it meant touchdown. The referee didn’t need to wait for three minutes to review the play. It was simpler to play football back then. Offsides were offsides and not a false start. There was not as much scoring. It wasn’t as much passing. The players looked more like normal human beings for the most part. Rick Cleveland writes a weekly sports column running Fridays at Mississippitoday.org. To support this work, make a regular donation today to celebrate our Spring Member Drive. This will allow us to continue important work such as this story.