Keep this in mind, football fans, when you see Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady blow on their hands in frigid Green Bay.
The spin is the thing.
So says Brady’s throwing coach Tom House, who’ll be ensconced inside his Del Mar home’s living room Sunday when the two spiral-flinging Californians square off — with a Super Bowl on the line — at cold, breezy Lambeau Field.
“The quarterbacks with the higher spin rates, the wind and the cold bother the football less and less,” said House, a San Diegan since 1981 who has coached Brady for eight years.
Science on football spin rates has revealed what’s clear to the naked eye: Green Bay’s Rodgers, 37, and Tampa Bay’s Brady, 43, are two of the very best at imparting spin.
As masters in the RPM game, each quarterback is well-equipped to penetrate light breezes and mid-20s air forecast for Lambeau Field.
“These guys could throw at the North Pole,” House said.
House said each quarterback will need a good grip on the football. They’ll wear special gloves, if necessary.
But the throwing expert said hard-wired, synchronized body movements will enable each passer to bring aerial mastery to the NFC championship game, despite the toe-tingling elements.
House, a former pitcher and coach in the big leagues, has analyzed throwing form for decades with tools such as high-speed photography and computers. Among his clients of his are Super Bowl winners Brady and Drew Brees. It was Brees who introduced Brady to House eight years ago.
Now, House aims to make his expertise available through an application that can be downloaded onto smart devices, starting in June. Amateurs can submit video to House and his team for critical assessment.
“We can get every parent, every kid, any scout the same instruction that our elite guys around the world get,” he said of the app, available through teammstrd.com. “It’s gonna work. We’re going to humanize Artificial Intelligence in a positive way. We’re using sports to do it.”
Rodgers sets the standard for spin, said House.
He hums strikes from various angles, even on the run.
House said that video study of Brett Favre, the Packers Hall of Fame quarterback under whom Rodgers studied for three years, revealed ideal form to impart ideal spin. The Mississippian was likely the best cold-weather quarterback in NFL history, going 34-0 through 2002 in games played in temperatures at 34 degrees or colder.
Brady has thrived in the cold, too. He has led the New England Patriots to nine Super Bowls, winning six rings.
So House dismissed the prospect that cold winds will impede either Rodgers or Brady. “Having someone catch it and run with it afterward, that’s where the issue is,” he said.
The AFC title game at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, where mid-30s, wet conditions are forecast, will pair two other quarterbacks who can zip passes through cold winds.
“Patrick Mahomes is probably just as pure throwing of the ball as Rodgers,” House said of the Chiefs quarterback, who’s 24-1 dating to the 2019 season.
Bills QB Josh Allen never lacked for arm strength, dating to his career at Wyoming.
His much-improved accuracy has played a big role in Buffalo reaching its first AFC title game since 1993, when Hall of Famer Jim Kelly outdueled Joe Montana at Arrowhead.
Allen, 24, said he improved his accuracy through workouts in Orange County with QB coach Jordan Palmer. House said Allen’s gains were unsurprising, given the advancements in sports science. “You put good information and good instruction in front of these young talented kids, they get better,” he said. Allen’s youth and 6-foot-5, 247-pound frame, added House, warranted patience. “If you’re 6-5 or taller, you’re usually two or three years behind a 6-foot pitcher, a 6-foot quarterback, just because of the distance between fingertips and brain.”
Chao on Mahomes
Former San Diego Chargers team physician Dr. David Chao said he expects Mahomes will play against the Bills. He said Mahomes may receive a numbing injection in his left foot where he sustained an apparent big-toe injury last Sunday. Chao said he’s not convinced Mahomes, who missed the final quarter-and-a-half of the 22-17 victory, sustained a concussion Sunday. “The likelihood is that he suffered momentary trauma to the carotid sinus area,” he wrote online at ProFootballDoc.com.