(Editor’s note: this is satire and not meant to be taken seriously. Unless the Patriots want to take it seriously, in which case it is 100% serious.)
The 2017 Running of the Patriots Fans is at least two months away, and it’s not even officially on the calendar yet, but in the meantime, Tebow-level-excited Patriots newbie Brandin Cooks and the New England sports press just may have accidentally gift-wrapped us the greatest offseason idea since “training camp is officially open to the public”.
Cooks is a pretty well-established roaster and toaster of defensive backs and has speed like the Patriots haven’t seen since (sigh, I know, bear with me) All-Galaxy deep threat Randy Moss and All-Galaxy draft bust Chad Jackson (he ran a 4.32!), so naturally the subject of speed came up in a press conference on Wednesday.
I mean, it’s been brought up a zillion times already, but in the spirit of “Let’s talk some more about how good we are”, just look at Brandin barely even have to try to fake this corner out before he has enough time to make a sandwich before anyone caught him:
That Raiders secondary probably still checks under their bed for Brandin Cooks at night.
Anyway, some joker in the press threw this question out there for Cooks to have some fun with:
“So, when’s the race?”
Cooks graciously declined to run his mouth, but he couldn’t help but drop this little teaser at the end. From CSNNE:
"You know, that was probably one of the first things that they talked about doing – guys giving us a hard time," Cooks replied when asked about a sprint-off. "You know, it’s all about right now getting better individually and taking care of business. But I’m sure that time will come."
Cooks is sure that time will come. I’m sure that time is now.
CSNNE points out that, in this entirely hypothetical (for now) race, there’s a whole slew of guys that’d probably be down to flex their wheels. Keeping in mind that in a track sprint, even one as long as the 400 meters, a few fractions of a second is an eternity, here’s who they helpfully listed as pretty F’ing fast, which saves us at least 5 minutes of dorking around on Pro Football Reference. Here’s the list:
Brandin Cooks, WR: 4.33-second 40 yard dash (Pro Day time)
Jonathan Jones, CB/ST: 4.33-second 40 yard dash (NFL Combine). Also a national high school champ in 110-meter hurdles. Seems important.
Stephon Gilmore, CB: 4.40-second 40 yard dash (NFL Combine)
Matthew Slater, WR/ST: 4.44-second 40 yard dash (Pro Day time)
Devin McCourty, FS: 4.48-second 40 yard dash (NFL Combine)
Eric Rowe, CB: 4.45-second 40 yard dash (NFL Combine)
Chris Hogan, WR: 4.47-second 40 yard dash (Pro Day time)
Brandon King, CB/ST: 4.45-second 40 yard dash (Pro Day time)
(Interesting aside: Aaron Dobson ran a 4.42 40, which is yet another reason it’s so freaking frustrating he couldn’t quite put it together in New England. That’s neither here nor there now, though.)
That...could be quite the close one.
Just think about it. Do some cheap tickets and maybe have some of the proceeds benefit one of the approximately 18 million charities the Patriots already work with. Have a musical guest play before the races, or afterwards. Open up the parking lot for tailgates. Heck, have the event in the afternoon and then have food vendors on-site. There could even be more than one race - maybe do a 40-yarder and a 100-yarder, just because it’d be a blast to see everyone line up on one end zone line and all take off towards the opposite end zone at the crack of the gun.
And for those of you thinking “This sounds like someone could get hurt!”:
Give me a break.
Football players before this CBA were doing two-a-days in the middle of the summer in full pads with full contact. This is running for a cumulative, I don’t know, 15 seconds? If someone gets hurt, they’re called “freak injuries” for a reason.
And finally, if you’re thinking “Belichick would never allow it”, I offer you this part in “America’s Game: The 2004 New England Patriots”, where in training camp, Bill bets offensive tackle Matt Light that he can’t catch a punt and says he’ll give the whole team the night off if Light actually fields the punt and doesn’t muff it.
Guess what happens.
(skip to about 5 minutes in)
Come on Patriots, make this happen. There’s no better way to get New England hyped about some of your best players - new-schoolers like Cooks and Gilmore and old schoolers like McCourty and Slate alike - and get your fans fired up right smack in the middle of what will soon be (Jaws music) the deadest time of the year on the sports calendar.
Show me someone who says they wouldn’t watch the heck out of this, and I’ll show you a liar.
Sure beats watching “Hard Knocks: Bucs Edition!”, anyway.