While there may be lots of skill and luck going on when the Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots this Sunday for the Big Game, there is also plenty of science going on. “Science Sam” Sampere from the Syracuse University Physics Department demonstrates some of the physics you can observe in action on the field this weekend.

Sampere said the gear that players wear is scientifically designed for their protection. Football players run at 15-20mph and crash into each other, exerting giant force. Pads are designed to absorb some of the impact but also spread that force out throughout the body. He notes that “if those forces were exerted over small areas, bones would be broken over every play.” 

Helmets have been talked about quite a bit lately in light of concussion research but science is doing it’s best to protect players. Sampere states “Football helmets have evolved to help protect them [the players] from these jarring blows to the head.” Syracuse University Athletic Department loaned some helmets for a display of how these scientifically engineered helmets have been designed to help with shock absorption. A demonstration proved that without a helmet, it’s a only a matter of time until your ‘melon’ cracks.

Finally, air resistance plays a huge role in the game of football. Quarterbacks put a spiral on the ball to help minimize resistance and allow the ball to travel further. Here’s hoping Tom Brady and Nick Foles use some science to their advantage on Sunday.