Science of NFL Football #9: Newton’s Third Law of Motion

Hey! It’s me, Wendy, from the Atlanta Falcons. I’m one of eight, current Falcons cheerleaders pursuing careers in science. I’m working towards a biomedical engineering degree at Georgia Institute of Technology. SciCheer invited me back to help introduce the ninth of 10 Science of NFL Football segments, produced by NBC Sports and NBC Learn in partnership with the National Science Foundation and the National Football League. Science Cheerleader worked on this awesome series and is an official partner brought on to broaden the reach to young women everywhere!

This segment’s all about Newton’s Third Law of Motion. Tony Schmitz, from the Univ. of FL (who, played football at Temple University where Darlene’s pretty sure he bumped her college boyfriend from his starting position as a running back…nice, real nice, Tony!), explains that Newton’s Third Law means each action or force has an equal and opposite reaction. “So,” explains Tony, “if I were to push against a body, that body is going to push back against me with an equal and opposite force.”

NBC News’ Lester Holt, the narrator of the series, adds that an important part of Newton’s Third Law is the concept of momentum, “which in football is the mass of a player, multiplied by his velocity, represented by the formula P = MV. NFL players may not know the formula, but they’re keenly aware of the role momentum plays in tackling.”

They sure are! Check this out:

If you’re an educator, be sure to visit NBC Learn to download free supplemental educators’ guides. Goooo science! And Goooo National Science Foundation for making this possible. Previous Science of NFL Football segments can be found here.