Alan Faneca’s Leg is Bigger Than My Son

That’s what I learned these past few days, when I took my 5-year-old son Solomon to visit the Pittsburgh Steelers’ training camp in Latrobe, Pa. Watching a pro football team in camp is awesome in a very different way than watching a game live, even if you watch a game from the sidelines, as I’ve done a few times. A live game moves so fast that you barely have the time and perspective to appreciate how good these athletes are. In camp, we got to stand about 10 feet away from All Pro offensive lineman Alan Faneca and a dozen of his gigantic colleagues as they did agility drills, hit blocking dummies, etc. It is unbelievable that they can be so huge and so athletic at the same time. Of course, they have to be these days to keep up with the defensive linemen. In last night’s Hall of Fame game (Raiders vs. Eagles), John Madden noted that the reason you don’t see so many screen passes these days is that defensive linemen have gotten so much faster over the years that even if you fool them a little bit on a screen, they’re still fast enough to thwart the play.

While the offensive linemen were the most amazing spectacle in Steelers camp, there were lots of other treats:

– Jeff Reed blasted 50-yard field goals, one after the next, with a motion so smooth it barely looked like he was trying (it could be argued that Reed is the most underrated kicker in the NFL)

– Ben Roethlisberger looked just fine after his motorcycle accident — and, having lost about 15 pounds, seemed to be moving even better.

– A pair of male Steelers fans, one of them wearing a Roethlisberger No. 7 jersey, rode motorcycles past the training camp, neither of them wearing helmets — just like Ben when he crashed. Talk about hero-worship.

– Joey Porter, who isn’t even suited up yet because of injury, still managed to get into a fight with an offensive player.

– Willie Parker, the Steelers’ surprise breakout running back last year (he was an undrafted free agent) looks even better this year, and may well become a star.

– The Steelers’ No. 1 draft pick, Santonio Holmes, looked fantastic in camp. On the other hand, who doesn’t look good in camp? Everyone’s undefeated, and optimistic, and relatively healthy. It’s too bad we don’t all get a chance to start our careers over every summer with a blank slate.

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  1. prosa says:

    Football linemen have gotten so enormous that some of them may be facing significant health risks. It’s been noted in the Times and elsewhere that an unusually high number of former NFL linemen have died at comparatively young ages, and in recent years linemen have only gotten larger (note, however, that the small population size may render statistical determinations of limited reliability).
    The NFL is quick to point out that even the largest linemen are not obese, because their size is the result of massive amounts of muscle rather than excess bodyfat. While that may be so, there is some reason to believe that an extremely large body puts excessive strain on the heart and other organs, even if the body is question is muscular rather than fat.

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  2. prosa says:

    Football linemen have gotten so enormous that some of them may be facing significant health risks. It’s been noted in the Times and elsewhere that an unusually high number of former NFL linemen have died at comparatively young ages, and in recent years linemen have only gotten larger (note, however, that the small population size may render statistical determinations of limited reliability).
    The NFL is quick to point out that even the largest linemen are not obese, because their size is the result of massive amounts of muscle rather than excess bodyfat. While that may be so, there is some reason to believe that an extremely large body puts excessive strain on the heart and other organs, even if the body is question is muscular rather than fat.

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  3. Blar says:

    Reed is about an average kicker. He doesn’t blast many 50+ yarders in the regular season. He’s only made 4 of them (in 7 attempts), with a career long of 51 yards. On 40-49 yarders, he’s just 24/36, which is a bit below average. According to Football Outsiders’ advanced statistics, he was worth 0.9 points above average on field goals (& extra points) last year, 3.1 above average the year before, and 9.0 points below average in 2003. (They basically take the number of points the kicker scores and subtract the number of points that an average kicker would be expected to score, based on the distance, stadium, and time of year of each attempt.) On kickoffs, Pittsburgh has also been about average the past three years, worth 1.6 points below average in 2005, 2.4 above average in 2004, and 5.3 above average in 2003 (based on a similar method, using the point values of field position).

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  4. Blar says:

    Reed is about an average kicker. He doesn’t blast many 50+ yarders in the regular season. He’s only made 4 of them (in 7 attempts), with a career long of 51 yards. On 40-49 yarders, he’s just 24/36, which is a bit below average. According to Football Outsiders’ advanced statistics, he was worth 0.9 points above average on field goals (& extra points) last year, 3.1 above average the year before, and 9.0 points below average in 2003. (They basically take the number of points the kicker scores and subtract the number of points that an average kicker would be expected to score, based on the distance, stadium, and time of year of each attempt.) On kickoffs, Pittsburgh has also been about average the past three years, worth 1.6 points below average in 2005, 2.4 above average in 2004, and 5.3 above average in 2003 (based on a similar method, using the point values of field position).

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  5. qualityg says:

    One of my favorite authors once wrote:

    “But I had been wrong. No book could ever accomplish such a thing. No book, as hard and bloody as it might be, was suitable sacrifice. It would take a riskier, more painful project to fulfill my offering; fatherhood.”

    What a great memory your son Solomon will have when he gets older.

    More on the author of the quote at

    http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2005/06/misc-confessions-book-reading-by.html

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  6. qualityg says:

    One of my favorite authors once wrote:

    “But I had been wrong. No book could ever accomplish such a thing. No book, as hard and bloody as it might be, was suitable sacrifice. It would take a riskier, more painful project to fulfill my offering; fatherhood.”

    What a great memory your son Solomon will have when he gets older.

    More on the author of the quote at

    http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2005/06/misc-confessions-book-reading-by.html

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  7. penxv says:

    The Browns are going to win the Super Bowl this year.

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  8. penxv says:

    The Browns are going to win the Super Bowl this year.

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