Christian McCaffrey: Do You Even Play Football, Bro?

Christian McCaffrey: Do You Even Play Football, Bro?


Christian McCaffrey: Do You Even Play Football, Bro?

Christian McCaffrey managed just 10 reps on the bench press at the NFL Combine. This is an unimpressive figure. One of the larger guys at your gym would have no problem eclipsing it.

McCaffrey’s 10 reps equal the fewest by a running back at last year’s meat market (Kenyon Drake). His lackluster performance at the weight bench has gone viral. The story is well on its way to being NFL Combine-d — where years worth of visual evidence and empirical data are set aside at the mere glimpse of a shiny or rusted object.

I want nothing more than for very serious scouts and front-office men to have an existential crisis when it comes to McCaffrey. Why? Because it will highlight the absolute folly of relying too much on a non-football-specific test aimed at determining football prowess.

Discussions about McCaffrey’s 10 reps and the relative arm and chest weakness it suggests are taking place across the league. The focus will stay on the number, even if the former Stanford star excels in the other portions of the dramatic program.

And that is hilarious.

McCaffrey could have failed to do one rep at the bench press and it wouldn’t change anything for me. Admittedly, part of that is stubbornness and a visceral reaction to the suggestion that a physical fitness test should dramatically alter an opinion formed from watching multiple seasons of the running back dominate in the Pac-12.

If one must fixate on the number 10, may I suggest complementing it with some other numbers.

For instance:

  • 2,664: The total number of yards from scrimmage McCaffrey put up in 2015.
  • 183: His average yards from scrimmage per game in his final two seasons.
  • 266: His average per game multipurpose yardage in 2015.
  • 6.2: His career yards per carry.

If those stats don’t do anything for you, may I don my best Luddite hat and suggest using the eye test. McCaffrey’s brilliance has been impossible to ignore.

And finally, this should go without saying but apparently it must be said, McCaffrey is a running back. He’ll make his living on the strength of his legs. Now, would it be nice if he got stronger up top? Sure, and he will. That’s why NFL teams invest so heavily in strength, conditioning, and diet experts.

McCaffrey might look like he doesn’t even lift, but he can definitely play football, bro. Let’s see which teams forget that.

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