Newly-hired Dallas offensive line coach Paul Alexander has clearly found the ultimate way to determine a football player's smarts.
Images via Phil Whitehouse/Wikimedia Commons, Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Forget the age-old ketchup/catsup debate. Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Paul Alexander has tapped out his own controversy surrounding ketchup: whether or not the way you pour ketchup speaks to your intelligence and ability to play offensive line in the NFL.
Alexander has developed a reputation as a kind of OL polymath—enough so that some publisher made a gamble that a book filled with tips about how to get a good performance out of players would sell enough to make them money.
Well, the book, Perform, was released and it included a pretty unusual tip for spotting the good eggs in an offensive line batch (hint: it has to do with ketchup [see: headline]):
For those of you who don't want to dive too deep into a jpeg about salty tomato-paste, here's what it says:
(The “57” is) placed at the precise spot where if one taps gently on the tipped bottle, the ketchup flows freely from the bottle. Even the new plastic squeeze bottles have a perfectly placed “57” at its optimal squeezing position. The person who figured that out was a genius.
When I see a large football player turn a bottle of ketchup upside down and pound at its heel with tremendous force yet with limited success, I immediately make the mental note:
He must either play defensive line, or if he plays offensive line, he can’t play for me.
I’m an Offensive Line Coach. I coach the big, fat guys, and I love them. Offensive linemen need to be the smartest, most cohesive group on the football field because they are responsible for the combinations of problems that eleven coordinated defenders can cause. In football, there are eleven defenders and eight gaps that they can charge. Assuming each man can choose one gap, there are 437,514 possible defensive alignments that the offensive line must deal with. Football strategy can be complicated much like an advanced level math problem. Offensive linemen and their coaches seek to solve complex problems with simple solutions.
So let's get this straight: Dude chooses his football players based on how they pour ketchup? Alright, then. That's weird. Some people—understandably were WTF-ing this theory:
Some defended it:
Alright, sure. Maybe it's a metaphor? But let's also acknowledge that there are cultural differences and different reasons why some information gets passed on from person to person. Maybe you're not up all night Googling "efficient ketchup pouring techniques." Maybe you're a Hunt's guy. Everyone's got a different relationship with it. Take this for example:
What do you do about a player who pours it like that, Paul? What do you do about that...