Friday’s media column sends us to a warehouse near the Bob Hope Airport runway in Burbank, to BASE Production studios, where Calabasas’ John Brenkus breaks it down on how his “Sport Science” works.
You’ve seen him act as his own crash-test dummy, first in the weekly series that started (and still runs) on Fox Sports Net, and now in the speciality-made segments that ESPN finds a way to get into their live-game action or on “SportsCenter” hits.
Check out the video above of the 5-foot-8, 160-pounder getting pounded from all angles in the name of science.
In actuality, it’s like a more scientific verson of “Pros Vs. Joes,” where Brenkus acts as the better-than-average weekend warrior, but when put up against the professional, his lack of necessary abilities are painfully exposed. And it puts everything, hopefully, into better context.
Like, what would it be like to be hit off the line by Ndamukong Suh? Or, be taken into submission — literally choked out — by an MMA star like Gina Carano? Or have an attack dog attack him, simulating what Evander Holyfield may have felt having his ear chomped on by Mike Tyson?
A baseball to the gonads may not be as pleasant as G-forces taken in a fighter jet, but you get the picture. It’s pain.
One of the experiments you can see on tonight’s ESPN Indianapolis-Green Bay exhibition game at halftime is a breakdown on how Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney puts his spin move on an opponent (linked here).
With Brenkus along for the ride.
“It’s really counter-intuiative to see a 270-pound guy not just doing a spin move and turning his back on the opponent, but then he leaves his feet — two things a coach will tell you to never do,” said Brenkus of the Freeney piece. “We found out that when he’s spinning, based on his weight and angular velocity, he’s going as fast as an Olympic ice skater doing a double-toe loop. And that’s what that creates his space. It’s hard enough for a blocker to keep Freeney in front of him. But then he leaves his feet, and you ask, ‘Why?’
“We sensored him up to measure his spin and then we figured out the force of his hit — on me. It was pretty outrageous.”
Brenkus also has a new book coming out next week, “The Perfection Point: Sport Science Predicts the Fastest Man, The Highest jump and the Limits of Athletic Performance” (Harper, $26.99. 242 pages), which can be pre-ordered online before its Sept. 1 release (linked here).
== Brenkus’ ESPN “Sport Science” website (linked here)
== More background on the “Sport Science” show (linked here)
== Brenkus’ BASE Productions website (linked here), which also produces programming for many other TV networks, and is responsible for the New Year’s Eve extreme sports programming on ESPN.