[Note by Skin Patrol, 05/22/08 3:06 PM EDT ] MJD at Shutdown Corner has a post up about this segment with, I believe, video of the entire exchange, so you don't have to suffer through my nonsensical attempt at transcribing the entire thing. I don't know if he has video of ESPN's First Take (it might be Grizzly Man) because my laptop died yesterday and I'm forced to work on a circa 2000 Dell right now that is begging me to mercy kill it; I'm too afraid to download the necessary plugin to view the video because it may just end this miserable piece of machinery. I need it, though. MJD picks Antwaan:
I like 'Twaan's chances here. I know what the bear expert says, but a professional athlete can change directions with such blinding quickness. A regular dude off of the street is probably going to be picked out of the bear's teeth. But Randle-El is paid so handsomely because athletically, he's ridiculously superior to the average dude on the street.
So a friend of mine ok, I suck, I was watching First Take on ESPN2. But they just showed a video of a bear, and then something something about Antwaan Randle El and touchdowns. I'm going to try and find out what the scoop is.
Question was posed by Tim Kurkjian: put a punt/kick returner on the zero yard line vs. a HUGE BEAR on the 50 yard line, who survives? So ESPN First Take has apparently (see, I don't watch) been asking all kinds of people this question, and now they're putting Antwaan Randle El vs. some bear expert, with bear. Here is my best attempt at documenting the exchange, which happened much faster than my fingers could type. The below transcript is NOT VERBATIM. It is simply me typing words as I hear them, and should not be treated as scripture on what was said on First Take today. But I did get the general gist of what went down. Here goes:
Antwaan: There is no doubt in my mind I'm going to outrun the bear. This bear I can imagine he can maybe go 30, maybe 40 miles per hour... I'm not getting caught by this bear. We're not just talking about running in football, we're talking about life.
Bear "Expert": I have great respect for this man, but he's just wrong. A black bear can run 35 miles per hour. Fastest person is 27 miles per hour. (Guy starts jabbering on about bears being predators and dodging.) On four legs bear can do better than person on two legs. (Says something about maybe bear wouldn't even care about ARE, because bears aren't necessarily going to go chasing football player.)
Host: Say the bear hasn't eaten for months and Antwaan is holding a freshly glazed ham, what then?
Bear "Expert": Let's say that Randle El does get by the bear by dodging. But then he's got the straight dash to the endzone, and the bear would catch him.
Host: Antwaan, your strategy is to run around the bear.
ARE: This might sound insane, but at some point you have to attack the bear, you have to go at him as though you're going to attack him. You need to go at him and dodge from him. If you start dodging right away, you're going to get tired. You just need to get that one step to get by him. I know the fastest person in the world only ran 27 miles per hour, but that fastest person was not running from a bear. And I'm running from this bear. Once I get past the bear, I run in a straight line. But once I get to the safe zone, that's it. Remember, I've been doing this for quite some time.
Host: How would bear respond if ARE ran right at him?
BE: If he was coming at the bear, and if the bear was coming at him, I'm not surprised if ARE could dodge him.
ARE: That's all you need! After that it's a rap!
BE: If bear is really trying, I bet on the bear. In reality, I can't imagine this ever happening. (Good buzz kill, dude.)
Host: Antwaan is happy this is never happening.
BE: I know there is a widespread misconception that if you run from a bear it will trigger a predatory response, I've never heard of that ever happening in reality.
Host: Antwaan, I don't know, I used to believe you could get by the bear, I'm a little skeptical you could get by.
ARE: Remember, I'm running for my life, now...
Tim Kurkjian: I agree with ARE, he's running for his life. A 180 pound man is quicker than a bear. The bear is faster, I'm not disputing that. A great kick returner is going to juke the bear at the 30 yard line or so. There is no way he isn't going to be able to shake the bear. Then it is going to take an 800 pound bear a really long time to get up to 35 miles per hour. By that time the really fast human being is well on his way to the goal line. I can't believe we are talking about this. This is the end of my career as a journalist.
Dana Jacobson: Expert just said the bear can dodge better than humans. Bear might not get juked out?
TK: With all due respect to "expert", with nothing against bears... there's just no way that something that weighs 800 pounds is as nimble or quick as an NFL player.
DJ: 30 miles per hour!
TK: But ARE can run 24 miles per hour. We have all seen football players and are absolutely dazzled by how quickly they move and change speed.
It digresses from there, if that were possible. Tim Kurkjian admits this is the worst moment of his professional career as a journalist.
End Discussion. To show you how ridiculous First Take is, the next segment involves Skip Bayliss and two guys I've never heard of discussing whether Indiana Jones is better than Jason Bourne is better than Shaft. No athletes. At least the bear question involved some sports hypothetical, with an actual athlete.
I'm taking Antwaan Randle El, but am adding a poll for good measure.