Coriolis Assisted Record

The only thing better than my favorite NFL team having a perfect record to start the season, is for the perfect record to be the result of physics.

In week 5, the Cincinnati Bengals overcame a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the (two-time defending NFC champs) Seattle Seahawks in overtime. Mike Nugent kicked a 42-yard field goal to win it, although by the slimmest possible margin (video):

The only thing that could make the victory sweeter is for a world renown physicist to credit an obscure pseudo-force usually associated (incorrectly) with the direction water swirls down your drain:

The Coriolis effect is the result of living on a spinning planet. Since a rotating system is a “non-inertial reference frame,” Newton’s laws need to be modified to account for the acceleration in objects observers perceive (video):

The headline on ESPN’s website “Astrophysicist says Bengals’ game-winning FG aided by Earth’s rotation“.


In a sense, the Earth’s rotation moved the goalposts with the football was in flight:


Author: lnemzer

Assistant Professor Nova Southeastern University

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