A colleague of mine recently asked me whether I could recommend a few movies about "American Football". One of the movies I brought him was Any Given Sunday, which gave me a convenient excuse to rewatch it myself. If you've ever watched Any Given Sunday - and seriously, which self-respecting football fan hasn't - you'll remember the quote by Coach Tony D'Amato (played by Al Pacino) below. Heck, you may even know it by heart:
"You find out life's this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game - life or football - the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don't quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They're in every break of the game, every minute, every second."
"On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when we add up all those inches, that's gonna make the %*^$#@ difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying!"
- Any Given Sunday (1999)
An inch here, an inch there. That's all it takes. And when we think of that extra inch, we usually think of that extra little piece of real estate you have to cover on the football field to be successful. We don't usually think of that extra inch as an extra inch in height. But maybe we should.
Height alone does not make a good football player, of course. But everything else being equal, and sticking with the Al Pacino quote above, an extra inch or two might make all the difference between winning and losing. Which is why today, we look at how the Cowboys' corners and wide receivers compare to the rest of the NFC East in terms of height.
As it stands today, the projected starting corners for the 2016 Cowboys will be Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. Carr is listed at 6'0" and Claiborne is listed at 5'11"; combined, they measure 11’ 11", which is just one inch shy of the Eagles and tied with the Giants and Redskins (projected starters per Ourlads.com depth charts).
|Projected CB Starters 2016|
|NYG||LCB||Rodgers-Cromartie or Apple||6' 1"|
For the wide receivers, the situation is a little different. With Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams both standing at 6'2", the Cowboys have the tallest starting wide receiver duo in the division.
|Projected WR Starters 2016|
This time, the Cowboys enjoy a height advantage over every other team. They have one inch on the Eagles, five inches on the incorrectly named Giants, and six inches on the diminutive Redskins.
Taken together, the four starting corners and receivers for the 2016 Cowboys measure in at a combined 24' 3". That's exactly the same as the Eagles' quartet, a five-inch advantage over the Giants and a six-inch advantage over the Redskins.
Going purely by height and not by actual playmaking ability - which makes this a largely hypothetical exercise, but a fun one nevertheless - the Cowboys might have an advantage over two of their NFC East opponents.
Because when we add up all those inches, they might just make the %*^$#@ difference between winning and losing!