Sports Illustrated has a feature about a 6-foot-7 man who plays offensive tackle for Baylor and weighs 392 pounds while he’s doing it.
Baylor coach Art Briles likes the athleticism of LaQuan McGowan so much that he’s even drawn up a few pass plays for the big man. He’s used them in game situations, too, with a Cotton Bowl touchdown against Michigan State as a result.
“I think in 20 years there will be a lot of 400-pound football players,” Briles told the magazine.
Makes you wonder what Amos Alonzo Stagg was saying 100 years ago. I figure it was something like “You just wait. One of these days there are going to be football players who weigh 220 pounds or more, and that’s without their high-top shoes.”
Back when I first started covering the Miami Dolphins as a regular beat in 1983, Don Shula drafted a defensive tackle from Syracuse named Mike Charles. The kid was one of youngest players in the NFL at 21 and he still was going through a growth spurt at 6-feet-4 and 292 pounds.
Shula, however, couldn’t swallow the concept of a finely tuned athlete weighing 300 pounds and he refused to let Charles come close, submitting the player to strict diets and extra running during the toughest stretch of two-a-day summer practices. Never mind that the guy’s body fat index was plenty low and his speed impressive.
A few years later, Mike Ditka had William Perry scoring touchdowns in the Super Bowl as the secret offensive weapon of the Chicago Bears, and the Refrigerator only weighed 335 or so, allegedly.
Just for kicks, I looked back to Vince Lombardi’s first Super Bowl team from 50 years ago. Nobody on Green Bay’s offensive line weighed more than Forrest Gregg at 249 pounds. Bill Curry played center for the Pack at 6-3 and 235. Today, that would be like sending a giraffe into the lion’s den.
Whistle through the Miami Dolphins’ training camp roster today to find a player who approximates Curry’s former playing size and weight and you come up with McLeod Bethel-Thompson. He’s a quarterback.
It just seems that young people are bigger with each new generation. Now we just need somebody to recognize that in the building of stadium seats.