The NFL’s Pro Bowl Skills Competition took place on Thursday. This year it included a game of dodgeball because, well, the Pro Bowl and all its trappings are fighting an uphill battle for relevance. During the festivities, Alex Smith’s unorthodox throwing form garnered some negative attention. And while I can’t defend the results of the sidearm heave, I feel it necessary to defend his honor.
First, I’d like to point out that taking a full windup and throwing overhand would have been a mistake considering Smith’s position near the center line. For one, the follow-through would have left him susceptible for a counterattack. Secondly, Smith’s throw –despite falling short– was well-aimed at his opponent’s feet. This is a smart strategy for a target cradling a ball because it eliminates the threat of a catch. The key wasn’t necessarily velocity, it was release time. As a master of the checkdown, Smith understood this.
And finally, be prepared to have your mind blown. It is my belief that Smith’s throw was actually of the no-look variety. It is my belief he was using his look-off skills to stare down the player directly in front of him in an effort to fool his target. There’s no way to prove it, but after several viewings, his head appears to be fixed straight ahead.
Think about it.