Posted September 07, 2013

ESPN Studies the Mark Sanchez Butt Fumble on “Sport Science”—and Then Retires It

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During Thursday’s SportsCenter, ESPN aired a Sport Science segment about a topic that’s near and dear to all of us: the Mark Sanchez Butt Fumble. In it, host John Brenkus set out to determine just how fumble-inducing a butt collision can be; to do so he donned pads and a helmet and then sprinted repeatedly into free agent offensive lineman D.J. Jones, who had a sensor affixed to his keister. They found that the average impact generated 1,300 lbs of force, more than ten times the 125 lbs supposedly needed to cause a fumble.

The science is silly—during a given game there are any number of obscenely forceful collisions in which the ballcarrier magically hangs on, so you clearly can’t reduce the act of fumbling down to a single factor. Other variables are at work. For example: Was the ball carrier Mark Sanchez?

But science isn’t what this segment was truly about. Rather, it was an excuse to throw a retirement party of sorts for the Butt Fumble, which has spent 40 weeks atop SportsCenter’s Not Top 10 charts, besting such challengers as Carly Rae Jepsen’s first “pitch” and Heat fans’ triumph over traffic jams. Alas, ESPN decided that three-fourths of the year is long enough and has formally removed the Butt Fumble from competition—which, of course, is appallingly undemocratic. The viewers who voted each week in hopes of prolonging the Butt Fumble’s reign indefinitely were cheated out of the satisfaction of knowing that their participation made a difference. It’s a travesty.

The game is rigged.

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