Of all the jobs on this green Earth, grabbing and redirecting a grown man who’s ventured too close to a chalk line has got to be one of the weirdest.
But that’s just what Ted Rath, director of strength training and performance for the Los Angeles Rams, is supposed to do. Rath is tasked with ensuring that head coach Sean McVay doesn’t cross over the sideline and score his team a penalty, so he has to anticipate McVay’s every move like they’re partners in a contemporary movement piece, or battling it out in the climax of Annihilation. (You can watch video of it, which the NFL won’t allow us to embed, here.)
“There is an art to it,” he said in an interview with NFL Films. “It is kind of like a dance. Maybe tango? Like a side-step into the path of the official and then [move] back.”
The utilitarian title for such a job is a “get back coach,” and Rath isn’t the only one. Clemson’s football team hired Adam Smotherman to keep coach Dabo Swinney from getting flagged, though Smotherman seems to view himself as less like Magic Mike and more like a human forklift. (The masculine posturing in his video is off-the-charts.)
Truthfully, this is the most romantic thing I’ve ever seen. Who wouldn’t want a friend constantly nearby to save them from harm’s way? I could use someone like Rath for dodging cars on Santa Monica during rush hour.
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