Ninh explains, Could a Sumo Wrestler be an
NFL Lineman? Sumo wrestlers. The gigantic beasts whose
sole day job is to push another gigantic beast out of the ring or onto the floor. They have
the size, strength and skill to push almost anybody around. But would they make good linemen
in the sport of American football – a position where you also need to push people around,
like … a lot? It kinda worked in the film ‘the Replacements’,
where the fictional ‘Washington Sentinels’ hire a sumo wrestler with an egg fetish, as
an offensive lineman. But would it actually work in real life?
Before I explain, be sure to hit that subscribe button down below. Hint hint, click click.
Wait, they’re just fat slobs right? Far from it. Sumo wrestlers are seriously
hardcore athletes with seriously hardcore muscle. They train for hours on end, eat the
same amount of calories as an army platoon, drink enough beer to keep even the crappiest
breweries in business, sleep for a little bit and repeat ad infinitum. Their training
consists of lots of power exercises designed to be explosive and move as much weight as
possible whilst having as much weight as possible. But a sumo wrestler has to not only be strong,
but quick. They work on speed not just in the legs, but the arms as well. As they’ll
need those hands to parry the arms of his opponent. Having a 100 hand slap definitely
helps. Given that they weigh up to 600lbs, they also
have to have excellent balance, as not falling over or being pushed around is kinda the name
of their game. They have to be tough, as they pretty much
just push, hit and slam each other all day every day … without padding.
Don’t underestimate their ability to train as they’re pretty used to doing this on
a daily basis. To prove this, let’s put a sumo wrestler
up against New England Patriots star Tom Brady. Let’s see what happens.
This is Tom Brady, Tom Freakin’ Brady – the greatest QB of our generation and he can barely
move a middle class wrestler 6 inches. How do you think he’d do against the current
Yokozuna Hakuho? Probably not very well. The raw elements of a sumo wrestler are all
desirable qualities of an NFL lineman, so on paper, they’d actually do pretty well,
right? Well … no!
For all the qualities of a sumo wrestler, you need infinitely more to play American
Football. Raw power and bulk aside, sumo wrestlers lack
a few important ingredients, but the main one is lateral mobility.
In sumo, they rarely move sideways – which is a big problem if you’re trying to cover
somebody like JJ Watt, who can teleport 6 feet to the right before zipping past you
to hurt the QB you’re trying to defend. Sumo wrestlers also lack the finesse, skill
and technique required to be an effective. Even the biggest lineman have dancer like
quickness in their feet. Check out Tyron Smith of the Dallas Cowboys and you’ll see what
I mean. Sumo is a sport heavily restricted by rules
and etiquette … none of which apply in American Football.
But there is one position a sumo wrestler could do quite well in – a defensive nose
tackle. The nose is the toughest job on the D Line as you have to tie up two offensive
lineman and essentially not be moved – which is kinda the bread-and-butter skill of a sumo
wrestler. But even then, the question of whether they
can do this for an entire game, as opposed to wrestling for a couple of seconds is debatable.
Oh, and in American Football, you actually have to run. Something which sumo wrestlers
do precisely 0% of the time. Mainly because they can’t, but also because it’s just
hilarious if they try. This is a stupid video man, no-one has ever
tried this. Well actually, they have.
Wakanohana, the 66th Yokozuna, tried to play American Football after he retired from sumo,
with the intention of making an NFL roster in 2002.
And on paper, he had all the necessary traits. Big, strong, good hands, explosive power in
the legs, immovable object and heavier than most of the linemen you’ll likely come across.
To prepare for the switch, he had to lose a lot of fat, replace that with muscle and
do aerobic style football drills every day. He could bench press and lift similar numbers
to his NFL counterparts so in theory, this seemed like a pretty good switch.
He actually signed a contract with the Arizona Rattlers, but sadly his career is a short
one. Even with all the weight training, aerobic
training and football coaching, his skillset was infinitely more limited than people realised.
As well as the lack of lateral mobility, he quickly found out that playing for 60 minutes
is infinitely harder than wrestling for 2. Combine that with age, previous injuries and
the fact that he’d never played American Football in his life at the age of 31. His
career failed before it ever even started. There’s another reason why sumo wrestlers
don’t instantly become linemen – because that’s not what they dedicate their lives
for. Every sumo wrestler’s goal is to reach the
rank of Yokozuna – which would grant you god-like status in Japan and the eternal adoration
of the people. To be in the prime of your career and then to suddenly quit to play a
western sport wouldn’t go down well with the Japanese public or members of your own
family. So whilst it’s a fanciful idea that these
Asian hulks could do well in American Football, in reality, the skillset of a sumo wrestler
is vastly different to that of a lineman. As always, be sure to like share and subscribe
to my channel. And if you like this sort of video, or want
to give your two cents let me know by adding a comment below.
K Ninh Ly – www.ninh.co.uk – @NinhLyU