Special thanks to Dr. David Haase, professor of physics and director of The Science House at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.
When you throw a football across the yard to your friend, you are using physics. You make adjustments for all the factors, such as distance, wind and the weight of the ball. The farther away your friend is, the harder you have to throw the ball, or the steeper the angle of your throw. This adjustment is done in your head, and it's physics -- you just don't call it that because it comes so naturally.

Physics is the branch of science that deals with the physical world. The branch of physics that is most relevant to football is mechanics, the study of motion and its causes. We will look at three broad categories of motion as they apply to the game:

  • Delivery of a football through the air
  • Runners on the field
  • Stopping runners on the field

Watching a weekend football game could be teaching you something other than who threw the most passes or gained the most yards. Football provides some great examples of the basic concepts of physics -- it's present in the flight of the ball, the motion of the players and the force of the tackles. In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we'll look at how physics applies to the game of football.