Arnold Schwarzenegger and American football.

Could Arnold Schwarzenegger play American football successfully? Maybe not an NFL player, but surely a college player.

Why, because the dude was strong and as a young man, looked like someone who was in shape, and thus in shape to play the game. A question is, would he be fast enough to play a position. It seems to be a matter of speed, strength and size.

He is 6’2" and is on average about 240 lbs. According to this website, he would be underweight for the position.

If he knew the game, could he be an offensive or defensive lineman? Or was his muscles just for show? He was very strong. Could he push off an defensive lineman?

I’ve asked this question before and was said that he could not even play NCAA ball. His conditioning is not the same. His muscles were of show but not use. If Arnold was a high school kid with what Arnold had as a high school kid, what training would have been required to get him prepared for major college ball?

You don’t need to be fast to play on the offensive line, or on the interior of the defensive line. But, at age 63, I think Schwarzenegger is past the time when he’d be an effective football player. :wink:

Seriously, though…yes, if he was only 240 lbs. while he was a bodybuilder, he would have been light to play as a lineman at a major college program, much less in the NFL. I suspect that a bodybuilder’s dietary and exercise regimen is specifically designed to create muscle mass and definition, but not necessarily general body mass. If he had been interested in playing football instead, he would have probably followed a different training program, to build up bulk.

Also, I see on Schwarzenegger’s Wikipedia entry some quotes from him, indicating that he played several sports as a young man, turning to weightlifting at age 14 or 15, and giving up football (soccer) at that point. So, it’s possible that he has (or had) some level of athletic talent beyond what was displayed as a bodybuilder.

It depends on a lot of factors, but I’d generally say no. First, the type of athleticism required for football varies widely between positions. A lineman will need lots of power, and size, where a corner or receiver will need a lot more speed and agility. Bodybuilding, however, does not focus on any of those things. Often bodybuilders are quite strong, but they tend to train specifically for appearance which will not always align with the type of muscle response an athlete may want.

Second, training for football does use weight training, but it often focuses more on functional exercises. What this means is exercises designed to mimic motions that are important in the sport. This sort of weight training generally focuses heavily on involvement of multiple muscles and, in many cases, power. A bodybuilder, however, will often focus on muscle isolation. Further, a significant portion of training for football is not related to weight training at all. Bodybuilders have no reason at all to do tackling drills.

Third, even as well known as Arnold is, it’s hard to make any judgments about his athleticism. Successful athletes aren’t just big, strong, and fast, but generally need high coordination, spatial awareness, reaction time, etc. Many of those sorts of things just aren’t needed for bodybuilding, so it’s hard to say if he had those skills and to what degree.
On the positive side, Arnold actually would have been not terribly unreasonable in terms of size for the NFL at the time he was competing. Back in the 70s, NFL athletes weren’t the monsters they are today. To compare, use a modern body builder, and you’ll see they aren’t TOO much behind the mass of an NFL lineman, though bodybuilders seem to generally be getting shorter and NFL linemen just keep getting taller and bigger. So, maybe, if he had that natural athleticism and did some intensive football training, he might have been able to pull it off, but I still doubt it.

Maybe, maybe not. It depends specifically on whether he has the right set of skills.

Every sport requires the right combination of strength and skills to succeed. Consider this: Olympic gold medalists are among the best athletes in the world. Yet there are very few that excel in more than one sport.

That’s an excellent point. Virtually all NFL linemen today are 300 pounds and up, as are nearly all defensive tackles and nose tackles; many defensive ends are somewhat smaller, as they tend to need to be faster. But, 40 years ago, when being a pro football player wasn’t a full-time job (and we didn’t have modern training techniques, sports nutrition, etc.), linemen were more likely to be in the 250-pound range.

I remember, in the early 1980s, the Oilers had an offensive tackle named Angelo Fields. At 320 pounds, he was considered, at the time, to be a mountain. Today, no one would think twice about his size.

Just did a little digging around, looking at the current and old rosters of the Packers.

In 1980, the average weight for the Packers’ starting offensive linemen was 259 pounds. Coincidentally, the average weight for the Packers’ starting defensive linemen was also 259 pounds. Their heaviest starter was offensive tackle Greg Koch, at 270 pounds.

In 2010, the average weight for the Packers’ starting offensive linemen is 313 pounds, and the average weight for the Packers’ starting defensive linemen is 327 pounds. Their heaviest starter is defensive end Ryan Pickett (who was a defensive tackle before they switched from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense), at 340 pounds.

Arnold actually started off as a powerlifter, IIRC. So his base was strength and then he got into BB.

I believe he had something like a 710 deadlift, a squat near 500 and a bench in the 400’s.

I don’t know how well that would translate to football though.

I bet he would have been a good fullback.

Being well muscled doesn’t necesarily make you an athlete. Reaction time, body control, quickness, agility, and all sorts of other subtle factors play into athletics. People seem to think NFL linemen are just huge strong tubs of goo and that you could just plug any random strong big guy in there, but if that were the case they wouldn’t be getting paid millions a year - you could just grab random big dude for cheap. NFL linemen are freakishly fast for their size and possess all sorts of quickness and agility.

Did Arnold possess that athleticism? I don’t know. Lots of bodybuilders don’t - they just have big muscles.

He’ll be any back he wants. He just has to give the word.

A young Arnold could have done anything he put his mind to. If you read about his early life, that was one seriously driven dude.

He surely could have played at some level of college ball…maybe a lower division. He may have had decent foot speed as a youth for all we know–might have been a mean linebacker. Would have been difficult to fit his name on a jersey though :slight_smile:

FWIW Lou Ferrigno tried out for the Toronto Argos in the 1970s. I tried to figure out how far he got. Wiki implies he made the team, but I don’t think that’s accurate, although I can’t find a definitive cite that contradicts it.

At any rate, the bottom line is that in his case at least, his almost-American football career was either brief or never got off the ground.

Whether you can generalize that to Arnold, who knows, but it shows that someone in a similar situation couldn’t hack it.

Pro - no.
College - probably not.

A friend of mine made his college team but never played. He was aggressive, quick, athletic, naturally strong, and large muscles due to weight lifting, but college football is really really competitive - lots of really good athletes.

A lineman? No. A linebacker? Sure – and maybe a tight end, if he was good enough with his hands. Either way, he’d have the right height and weight; it’s only a question of building up the right skills. (But, like the other guy said, he’s the wrong height and weight to play center, just like he’s the wrong height and weight to make it as a cornerback.)