View Full Version : Health Consequences Of Linemen Being Supersized

Atlanta Dan
01-29-2011, 10:08 AM
NYT has an article today on the long term health consequences of modern NFL linemen becoming supersized

N.F.L. Linemen Tip the Scales

In 1970, only one N.F.L. player weighed as much as 300 pounds, according to a survey conducted by The Associated Press. That number has expanded like players’ waistlines from three 300-pounders in 1980 to 94 in 1990, 301 in 2000, 394 in 2009 and 532 as training camps began in 2010. ...

“I just can’t see how they can be healthy,” said Dr. Charles Yesalis, an epidemiologist and professor emeritus of health and human development at Penn State. “Yes, some may be 280 pounds of muscle, but then they carry 40 pounds of fat. It just overworks your heart. It puts a strain on your joints. You have the whole issue of concussive injuries.

“It all adds up to things that are not good for your health, but it makes for a good carnival atmosphere when you see the behemoths out there.” ...

Performance-enhancing drugs have also clearly played some role in the larger size of players, though it is impossible to say precisely how much. Almost no players admit to using banned substances, and the N.F.L. does not test for human growth hormone, though Commissioner Roger Goodell has said such testing was needed “to protect the integrity of our game.” ...

“You can see by looking at the defensive linemen that they carry 30, 40, 50 pounds of fat,” said Jerry Kramer, the All-Pro guard who led the Packers’ famed sweep in the 1960s while playing at about 250 pounds. “Fat doesn’t make you strong and quick. It makes you heavy. Muscle makes you strong. We’ve gotten enamored with the 300-pounder, but give me an offensive guard who’s in great shape at 270 or 275 and understands leverage and positioning, and I’ll bet he’ll whip the fat guy every time.”


By way of comparison to today's linemen, these were the listed playing weights for the starting linemen for the 1975 Steelers

Joe Greene 6-4 - 275

L.C. Greenwood 6-6 - 245

Ernie ("Fats") Holmes 6-3 - 260

Dwight White 6-4 - 255

Jon Kolb 6-2 - 262

Jim Clack 6-3 - 250

Sam Davis 6-1 - 255

Ray Mansfield 6-3 - 250

Gerry Mullins 6-3 - 244

Gordon Gravelle 6-5 250


01-29-2011, 10:14 AM
I'd agree with that. Some of the guys i've seen on the field this year across the NFL look like big, fat, disgusting slobs. I've started to wonder about the "300 lb" mark myself. I'd take a muscular, in-shape guy at 260, 270 any day.
I remember when i was a kid and saw Jon Kolb playing for the Steelers thinking "that guys huge, he's a MONSTER"