This past weekend, Washington's John Ross ran 4.22 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine to break Chris Johnson's record of 4.24 set back in 2008. As expected, the internet reacted.
— Chris Johnson (@ChrisJohnson28) March 4, 2017
But let's be real for a second. John Ross is not that fast in sprinter's standards. Here's why:
1) The 40-yard dash is NOT fully automatic timing. It is only "half" automatic timing. The clock is hand started and automatically stopped. The standard "hand time" to "fully automatic time" conversion is 0.24 seconds. In this case, since the finish is automatic, one should add 0.12 seconds to Ross' time.
2) Forty-yard dash times start when the runner starts, meaning there is no "reaction time" taken into account. The average reaction time at the Rio Olympics was about 0.149 seconds. So another 0.149 seconds should be added to Ross' time.
3) Based on video evidence Ross ran his last 10 yards in 0.833 seconds. Assuming his pace from 30 yards to 40 yards could be maintained for a projected 40 yards to 65.61 yards (60m), Ross would have run an extra 25.61 yards in 2.135 seconds.
4) If you add up all three of these factors (4.22 + 0.12 + 0.149 + 2.135), Ross' projected 60m FAT time would have been about 6.62 seconds.
How fast is 6.62?
- The top time in the NCAA right now is held by two men: Christian Coleman and Kendal Williams, who have each run 6.51.
- Currently, 12 college athletes have run 6.62 or faster this year.
- 508 men have run 6.62 or faster in the world all-time.
So while John Ross is fast, he is by no means a world-class sprinter -- that club is reserved for the true sprinters today.
Also of note: John Ross ran track in high school with 100/200 PBs of 10.66/21.56.