When people talk about the physics of American
football, they normally mention force, torque, and so on… Like how the energy from two
linemen colliding is enough to power a 60W light bulb for over a minute, or is equivalent
to an average person falling two stories off of a building! But there’s another aspect of physics in football
that isn’t talked about as much – symmetry! You might think symmetry is just for butterflies
and rorschach tests, but it’s all over the place in football: there’s translational symmetry
when teams keep the same formations as they move up or down the field, and rotational
symmetry when they switch sides after a touchdown. Even the ball has axial symmetry so it can
spin smoothly through the air. But why is symmetry useful in the first place?
Symmetry makes things easier, or at least more efficient; it gives you a guide: “same
scenario, same action.” That means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time: to
draw a straight line, you just keep drawing in the same direction. For a circle, keep
curving the same amount. So when football players practice a play over
and over, the patterns of football become so ingrained in their reflexes they can act
without thinking. Psychologists call this “habit formation”; we call it “symmetry in
time”! And when players line up on the field the same way at the thirty, or forty, or fifty
yard lines, that’s “symmetry in space”. Even physics itself is symmetric – ever
heard of Newton’s law: “a body in motion tends to stay in motion”? That’s just nature saying
“keep doing the same thing.” What’s more, Newton’s laws of motion are the same now as
they were yesterday, and they’ll be the same again tomorrow! Doesn’t that make life easy? Ultimately, symmetry is what allows both science
AND football to function – if the laws of the universe (or the rules of football) changed
from day to day, we wouldn’t be able to repeat experiments, make predictions, or know what
plays to practice. So when you reach for yet another handful
of chips while watching the next football game, know that millions across the country
are doing exactly the same, in perfect symmetry.

Football, Physics, and Symmetry
Tagged on:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

100 thoughts on “Football, Physics, and Symmetry

  • July 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm
    Permalink

    oh look an ignorant murican. pls stop making your Country look stupid, if you dont think its stupid

    Reply
  • July 11, 2013 at 4:25 pm
    Permalink

    isn't symmetry in time just muscle memory?

    Reply
  • July 23, 2013 at 7:19 am
    Permalink

    why do sport players earn so much money from just hitting or kicking a ball!

    Reply
  • July 23, 2013 at 7:21 am
    Permalink

    no symmetry is just around to stop the people with ocd from manufacturers

    Reply
  • July 29, 2013 at 10:51 pm
    Permalink

    Death the Kid: Yes, Everything Must be Symmetrical!
    XD

    Reply
  • August 3, 2013 at 6:57 pm
    Permalink

    America is amazing. All you other countries see are stereotypes. America = Innovation and Freedom. Ever seen a Mac computer? America. Do you use Windows? America. And hey, now Mexico has the highest rate of obesity.

    Reply
  • August 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm
    Permalink

    Europe = freedom too…. -_- so please stfu with your 'america = freedom'

    Reply
  • August 11, 2013 at 9:37 pm
    Permalink

    @SaryTheWolf I know right Lol. Just like the number eight.

    Reply
  • August 11, 2013 at 10:14 pm
    Permalink

    This comment made me laugh, but I hope you actually were trying to be funny otherwise I have to cry for you now. : ) or ; ( ?

    Reply
  • August 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm
    Permalink

    Can you please please please make a video about fractals?

    Reply
  • August 22, 2013 at 8:24 pm
    Permalink

    EXCEPT HIS FUCKING HAIR …. GET THIS SHIT OUTTA HERE

    Reply
  • August 25, 2013 at 9:48 am
    Permalink

    I only watched this cause of the word Symmetry. I'm quite surprised to find a Soul Eater comment here.

    Reply
  • August 31, 2013 at 3:04 am
    Permalink

    Oh man, Death the Kid.

    Reply
  • August 31, 2013 at 3:07 am
    Permalink

    Not knocking rugby. I'd just like to know why its called "rugby", and not "brawlball", or something. There're no rugs involved… I mean, football has at least one maneuver where the feet are involved (excluding the instance of actually running the ball). Is it just… slang from long ago?

    Reply
  • September 1, 2013 at 5:33 am
    Permalink

    I think that's over thinking it.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2013 at 12:55 am
    Permalink

    Ying!

    Reply
  • September 9, 2013 at 10:44 pm
    Permalink

    Unfortunately the rules of football do keep changing..

    Reply
  • September 11, 2013 at 4:36 am
    Permalink

    the game americans call soccer used to be called both soccer and football by everyone before what americans call football was invented (presumably in america). so which is football or soccer? well, both.

    Reply
  • September 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm
    Permalink

    Death the kid approves this video ^ ^=

    Reply
  • September 15, 2013 at 6:57 pm
    Permalink

    Please be precise. It's American Football. European here 😛

    Reply
  • September 23, 2013 at 8:53 pm
    Permalink

    You are right we don't want it confused with soccer! Australian here!

    Reply
  • October 12, 2013 at 11:38 pm
    Permalink

    When they said foot, they meant the imperial system's unit of length measurement. Sorry for any more confusion this system has caused. 😀

    Reply
  • October 15, 2013 at 11:29 am
    Permalink

    i love how the german subtitles (too lazy to turn them off) say at 1:08 :"because americans don´t understand the metric system."

    Reply
  • October 17, 2013 at 11:22 pm
    Permalink

    american football literally isn't even on the top 10 list for most popular in the world. it is ONLY popular in america and has slight recognition in few other countries. meanwhile, football (soccer) is the world's most popular sport. in addition to that, the most valuable sports teams in the world are the football (soccer) teams from the premier league and la liga. so basically you're ignorant and wrong

    Reply
  • October 21, 2013 at 12:28 am
    Permalink

    I wonder how many people have actually watched that show

    Reply
  • October 24, 2013 at 11:42 pm
    Permalink

    American football is the stupidest game in my opinion >.>
    And I am american.
    I may make more money than other sports cuz people like violence and that's really all football is, just without the blood and gore.

    Reply
  • October 25, 2013 at 6:29 am
    Permalink

    I see football as a game of chess played by the coach where the chess pieces are human and have different traits.

    Reply
  • October 25, 2013 at 12:20 pm
    Permalink

    I thought this video was about football, FOOTball, not rugby.

    Reply
  • October 27, 2013 at 9:13 pm
    Permalink

    I don't think you do.

    Reply
  • October 28, 2013 at 8:16 am
    Permalink

    People complain american football is rugby. So then volley ball and tennis must be the same sport with different equipment. Or baseball and kickball. Or handball and racket ball. Tennis and badminton even.

    Reply
  • October 31, 2013 at 11:46 pm
    Permalink

    I think "football" isn't that much of a good game. I mean, you get to see linemen crash into each other and a bunch of running, but that's about it.

    Reply
  • November 1, 2013 at 11:51 pm
    Permalink

    You don't flip sides after each touchdown smart on.

    Reply
  • November 1, 2013 at 11:51 pm
    Permalink

    One

    Reply
  • November 3, 2013 at 6:43 pm
    Permalink

    i like football, the real one where you play with feet, and i call american football a hand egg

    Reply
  • November 3, 2013 at 7:44 pm
    Permalink

    Well that's your opinion, in which I respect. I would say one of my sayings but I'm afraid someone might steal it.

    Reply
  • November 4, 2013 at 8:48 pm
    Permalink

    This ain't football bitch !!!

    Reply
  • November 10, 2013 at 9:00 am
    Permalink

    Did anyone else think this was extremely lame? Symmetry has nothing to do with anything. Seemed like he was pushing its definition

    Reply
  • November 15, 2013 at 3:26 pm
    Permalink

    What the fug is that? A handegg?

    Reply
  • November 16, 2013 at 1:02 am
    Permalink

    Let's get the old comment system back 😀

    Reply
  • November 21, 2013 at 8:40 pm
    Permalink

    Physics about my favorite game. Awesome.

    Reply
  • November 26, 2013 at 8:47 pm
    Permalink

    I came for football not hand egg. -_-

    Reply
  • November 30, 2013 at 4:38 pm
    Permalink

    that's not football that's more like a hand ball or  that american version  of  rugby !!! whats wrong with u america ????

    Reply
  • November 30, 2013 at 11:31 pm
    Permalink

    Football is our sport! Stop calling it soccer and using pur name for your sport! >:(

    Reply
  • December 3, 2013 at 11:32 am
    Permalink

    this ain't football! this is rugby!!!

    Reply
  • January 11, 2014 at 10:39 pm
    Permalink

    actualy u dnt kno if newtons laws will be the same tomorow the uncertainty principle backs me up on this 🙂

    Reply
  • January 18, 2014 at 7:00 pm
    Permalink

    speaking of chips… I got one here. While playing farmville 2, I'll eat it on the next videos(started from latest ones towards the first one ever)

    Reply
  • January 26, 2014 at 12:10 pm
    Permalink

    That is NOT football. It`s some poofy American nonsense with body armour.
    Foot ball involves kicking ,with the feet, Not throwing and catching with the hands.
    Also Budweiser is a drinkable beer,only if brewed in the Czech republic, unlike that piss from USA that stole it`s name.
    Calling ALUMINIUM (al you mini um) Aloominum makes yanks sound like they are brain damaged (along with banging on about babyjeezus being real)
    Othrwise we are OK

    Reply
  • January 26, 2014 at 1:11 pm
    Permalink

    The pictures flash very fast, and your hand blocks the pictures. Honest comment: I can't really see what you are drawing.

    Reply
  • January 26, 2014 at 3:09 pm
    Permalink

    I wanted to write a comment about symmetry but then I then but symmetry about comment a write to watned I

    Reply
  • January 26, 2014 at 9:11 pm
    Permalink

    You may need to change the German translation.
    I do not care about the soccer football argument but american football does NOT translate to "Fussball

    Reply
  • January 27, 2014 at 1:19 pm
    Permalink

    nobody cares about american football outside the usa

    Reply
  • January 30, 2014 at 9:49 pm
    Permalink

    Oddly enough, even though this goes against symmetry and this video, if nothing made any sense and everything was asymmetrical, it would still make sense until it repeated itself.

    Reply
  • February 10, 2014 at 4:00 am
    Permalink

    the music is soo annoying

    Reply
  • February 24, 2014 at 7:38 pm
    Permalink

    that tv is 3d?

    Reply
  • March 4, 2014 at 2:32 pm
    Permalink

    I have read some posts here and it's clear that nobody outside of the USA(and Canada) cares about American football. But haven't you people noticed that we Americans don't care what you like or dislike, and nothing really matters until we says it does.  As a matter of fact you folks should be glad that only school children in America play soccer, because if our best athletes played then we'd win the World Cup too.

    Reply
  • March 28, 2014 at 9:29 pm
    Permalink

    you mean Hand…ball. They never use the feet. this is not Foot..ball.

    Reply
  • March 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm
    Permalink

    Why can't there be one video on YouTube about American football where no one argues about its name…

    Reply
  • May 1, 2014 at 1:34 am
    Permalink

    awesome one

    Reply
  • May 12, 2014 at 2:41 am
    Permalink

    Someone call Death the kid…

    Reply
  • June 20, 2014 at 9:12 pm
    Permalink

    aaaah, he's talking about handegg. Didn't quite hang on there for a second.

    Reply
  • June 20, 2014 at 10:14 pm
    Permalink

    0:29 You don't switch sides after a touchdown in professional American football.

    Reply
  • June 30, 2014 at 8:35 pm
    Permalink

    YouTube: Where the world comes to argue about shit that doesn't really matter.

    Reply
  • July 1, 2014 at 3:51 am
    Permalink

    If you don't like American Football, then don't watch it

    Reply
  • July 18, 2014 at 3:19 am
    Permalink

    Death the Kid approves

    Reply
  • August 12, 2014 at 3:12 pm
    Permalink

    Minecraft

    Reply
  • October 24, 2014 at 12:56 am
    Permalink

    i really like these my teacher uses these in class

    Reply
  • December 30, 2014 at 10:52 pm
    Permalink

    i don't know what you said, but i strongly disagree.

    Reply
  • January 4, 2015 at 2:02 pm
    Permalink

    Football? Non-Americans are gonna rage.

    Reply
  • February 15, 2015 at 4:05 pm
    Permalink

    You can't prove that the laws that govern the universe will not change in the future or have been the same in the distant past. You only assume that because it is conventient, like conservation of energy, for instance. All scientific assumptions are made upon common sence and for the sake of practicality, but are, nonetheless, mere assumptions and hence unfaulsifiable. 
    Stop scientific realism!

    Reply
  • June 21, 2015 at 10:02 pm
    Permalink

    Imagine this:
    You and someone is watching a football match/soccer game/…
    (That) Someone: Brb, I have to go to the toilet.
    You: OK, I'll go grab some more chips/popcorn/whatever.
    Same as above: *Goes to the toilet*
    You: *go to grab some chips/popcorn/whatever from the kitchen*
    Both: *Come to the living room and just as you enter, the TV screen breaks and a football/soccer ball comes out of it*

    How would you react to that (ignoring the fact, that the TV is broken)?

    Reply
  • December 6, 2015 at 11:27 pm
    Permalink

    But if the rule of football did change every day, we'd have a variant of Calvin ball. Who doesn't love Calvin ball?

    Reply
  • January 2, 2016 at 6:27 pm
    Permalink

    OK, Why is minute physics, I mean Henry, talking about Football?

    Reply
  • February 11, 2016 at 10:59 pm
    Permalink

    When you say football, do you mean handegg?

    Reply
  • February 26, 2016 at 4:30 pm
    Permalink

    I know that this person is american but they can just put rugby in brackets so I know what they are talking about

    Reply
  • May 21, 2016 at 10:54 am
    Permalink

    And this is why CS:GO is such an unnecessarily difficult game to get good at.

    Reply
  • May 22, 2016 at 5:37 pm
    Permalink

    This sounds like Blue's Clues music

    Reply
  • May 24, 2016 at 11:19 pm
    Permalink

    Wait hand-egg, oh nobody cares

    Reply
  • June 3, 2016 at 11:37 am
    Permalink

    What has handegg got to do with physics, exactly?

    Reply
  • July 18, 2016 at 2:58 pm
    Permalink

    I been subbed to this channel for over a year and all the videos are just pure bullshit. Nothing new or groundbreaking. Same annoying bullshit music in every video. And this guy narrating speaks so fast I can't help but think he can't wait to finish his poxy videos

    Reply
  • July 18, 2016 at 2:59 pm
    Permalink

    I unsubbed because I Syria ass lee do not think this channel will every come up with shit that will enlighten me.

    Reply
  • October 3, 2016 at 4:50 pm
    Permalink

    Please explain why your footballers have no feet.

    Reply
  • October 3, 2016 at 7:53 pm
    Permalink

    Football? HAH! MORE LIKE FOOTEGG

    Reply
  • January 27, 2017 at 10:33 pm
    Permalink

    you should do a video on the Em drive >_<

    Reply
  • March 21, 2017 at 6:28 pm
    Permalink

    wait but that's rugby not football!!

    Reply
  • May 20, 2017 at 5:28 pm
    Permalink

    I saw football so I came in, but I don't recognise it, what happened ?

    Reply
  • July 14, 2017 at 9:29 pm
    Permalink

    Football is just a fucking name for a stupid game, aren't you guys more mature than that? really

    Reply
  • July 19, 2017 at 4:44 pm
    Permalink

    in perfect symmetry like brainless sheep. smh

    Reply
  • October 14, 2017 at 7:53 pm
    Permalink

    Normal world: You use feet and legs to control the ball, hence the word football.
    USA: You use your hands and arms to to control the ball, hence the word football.

    Reply
  • November 22, 2017 at 2:09 am
    Permalink

    Habit formation=Ultra Instinct

    Reply
  • December 16, 2017 at 10:10 am
    Permalink

    Pssst, guys. This video is actually about strange sport "handegg". It has nothing to do with a football.

    Reply
  • January 28, 2018 at 8:04 pm
    Permalink

    Hit like if you came for REAL football, not this American bullshit.

    Reply
  • April 8, 2018 at 6:45 pm
    Permalink

    reaches out for the bag for chips

    american football ball sudenly flies through screen

    Reply
  • June 3, 2018 at 7:13 pm
    Permalink

    “They can act without thinking”
    We call that ultra instinct

    Reply
  • August 26, 2018 at 3:55 pm
    Permalink

    The ball used on this illustration is not from football. It's rugby.

    Reply
  • April 13, 2019 at 2:56 pm
    Permalink

    Blek is an example. When you draw a line, it repeats what you did.

    Reply
  • April 24, 2019 at 12:34 am
    Permalink

    Football? You mean Rugby for pussies?

    Reply
  • June 4, 2019 at 12:13 am
    Permalink

    Not only would science be impossible, but life would be too

    Reply
  • June 18, 2019 at 2:29 pm
    Permalink

    Saying that after a touchdown, the two teams switch sides sounds misleading; rather, after a touchdown it's the the ball that switches sides.

    Reply
  • July 12, 2019 at 1:06 am
    Permalink

    llabtoof

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *