NFL players are freaks
I’ve always thought the most physically impressive athletes in all of sports are NFL pass rushers. They’re guys with the height and athleticism of NBA small forwards, but with 30–40 additional pounds of muscle and the agility of a dancer. But now I’m starting to think offensive linemen—the guys tasked with stopping those pass rushers—might be the real answer.
Offensive linemen get a bad rap. They’re dismissed as fat and slow, even though they have to have insanely quick feet to block a guy rushing off the edge or to pull across the formation. They’re by far the biggest guys on the field, and their job is to not get left in the dust by men 60 pounds lighter than they are.
If you want proof that inside every 320-pound lineman is a superhuman athlete, look no further than former Browns left tackle Joe Thomas. Thomas retired in 2017 and promptly dropped 50 pounds, simply by not eating “until you feel like you’re gonna throw up at every meal.”
The newly svelte Thomas was a competitor on this week’s season premiere of NBC’s The Titan Games hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The show is basically a Ninja Warrior–style obstacle course with some extremely corny differences (to win, you have to smash the “Titan tomb” to retrieve the “relic”). The different elements of the course test speed, agility and brute strength. There’s even a couple of sections where a tall guy like Thomas (6' 6") should be at a disadvantage, being forced to crawl in a tight space.
It was no issue for Thomas, though. He managed to defeat CrossFit pro and firefighter Matt Chan in his first matchup of the night.
In his second race of the night, Thomas dragged a 300-pound boulder like it was nothing and smashed the “Titan tomb” with three strikes to defeat former military member and current Ohio sheriff’s deputy Steven Shelby.
Those guys Thomas defeated aren’t chumps. Just sizing them up you’d think they’d be quicker and faster than a guy Thomas’s size, but Thomas is one of the best linemen in NFL history and still only 35 years old. They never stood a chance.
The best of SI
UConn screwed up its football program, and it has had massive ramifications for the whole athletic department. ... MLB players are still reckoning with the proposed new hygiene rules (like no spitting). ... Ranking the top 30 prospects in the 2021 NBA draft. ... The setting was unusual but Bayern Munich’s win over Borussia Dortmund was the usual outcome.
Around the sports world
Bucks guard George Hill is spending the NBA shutdown at his Texas ranch, which is home to exotic animals like zebras. ... Damian Lillard says if the NBA restarts its season without giving bubble teams a legitimate shot to make the playoffs, he’s not playing. ... There are “dozens” of bidders interested in buying the XFL’s assets and possibly relaunching the league next year. ... Russell Wilson and the athlete power couple of Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe will host this year’s remote ESPYs show. ... A German F1 driver has been fired by his team for secretly using a ringer in a virtual race. ... Without access to a gym, the Jamaican bobsled team is training by pushing a car.
So if you’re not being paid by a team, does that make you a free agent?
The NHL is ready to resume play with a modified 24-team playoff format
Wow, a legitimate sports highlight!
The best part is, as the baby grows, your muscles grow
JJ Watt learned something new from MC Hammer
Copying Curtis Granderson’s open lefty stance was the only way I wouldn’t bail out on my swing
The CDC is warning people about “aggressive” rats left starving by restaurant shutdowns. ... It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been renewed for a record-breaking 15th season. ... Spotify is finally allowing you to save more than 10,000 songs to your library. ... Elon Musk has changed the name of his son to something slightly less bizarre.
Remain calm, it’s just an enormous bear
The link is in Japanese but worth clicking on and translating
Very, very cool
Amazon tried to get news stations to air a propaganda film, and nearly a dozen actually did it
There are bodies under the cobblestone
A good song
Email email@example.com with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.