T.O. is fast, but he’s not *that* fast
Now I know why Terrell Owens has spent a decade talking about coming back to the NFL. He’s still fast as hell.
Owens, 46, recently worked out with Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill in a session Hill posted on his YouTube channel. They decided to do a 100-yard race (with Owens getting a 10-yard head start) for $1,000 and Hill, probably the fastest receiver in the NFL, couldn’t catch Owens.
Since T.O. seems not to have lost a step, they decided to race in the 40-yard dash, this time with no handicap. Hill beat Owens by just a couple of strides. It was an impressive performance, made even more noteworthy by the time one of the trainers on hand claimed to have clocked Hill at. He said his stopwatch had Hill at 4.37 seconds, and that Owens must have been “about about 4.4, 4.42.”
Outlets like Bleacher Report hyped up the 4.4-second time. If you search Twitter for T.O.’s name and 4.4, you’ll find tons of people talking about how he needs to be back in the NFL. If he really had run a 4.4 40, of course he should get an NFL contract. But he obviously didn’t really run that fast.
I put Hill’s video into some editing software so that I could cut it frame-by-frame to time the race precisely. Hill ran his 40 in 4.6 seconds. Owens was 4.9.
That’s still insanely fast, especially for a 46-year-old! If Owens ran that time at the 2020 NFL combine, he’d be on par with a lot of tight ends and pass rushers. When he ran the 40 at the 1996 combine (before the introduction of electronic timing), he was clocked at 4.65 seconds, not far off from what he ran against Hill.
The race also shows just how fine the margins are between great speed and elite speed. Hill is one of the fastest players in the league. He can run faster than a 4.6 (he ran 4.29 at the NFL combine in 2016) but maybe not in the hot sun after having just run another race. Owens was only a couple of strides behind him, which is an unbelievable feat for a guy 20 years older than Hill, but in the NFL those couple of strides are the difference between a tackle and a touchdown.
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