The size and height of the American Footballer has changed a lot in the last 57 years, as you can see! This infographic takes a look at just how the Defensive Tackle has evolved over the years into a truly physically imposing athlete. With an average height of 6 foot five inches and an average weight of 315 lbs, one thing is for certain. You wouldn’t want to be on the end of a defensive tackle!
Evolution of the American Football Player
A lot has changed regarding modern day football players compared to those who played the game in the 1960s. Today, football players are supported constantly from high school and especially as pros in every aspect of their daily training and nutrition. They are shaped and developed to be at the peak of physical performance. Even in the off season players have to stick to rigorous training and nutrition plans.
This certainly wasn’t always the case. In the 1950s football’s popularity increased, but payment for players didn’t keep pace. This meant that most players would work another job to provide for themselves and their families. The best time to make money was in the 6 month off season, and most players would work as much as possible.
Off season conditioning wasn’t really part of any pro footballers plans, as players spent it earning money.
By the 1970s football had overtaken baseball as the country’s most popular spectator sport. This led to TV contracts and full stadiums, which dramatically increased the cash flow within the game.
The growing popularity didn’t stop there, and throughout the 1980s and 1990s the country became even more captivated by Football. As the game grew, so did the players ability to negotiate improved wages.
Today’s football player spends off season in training and conditioning, whilst adhering to a strict nutritional plan to prepare for next season. Players are constantly undergoing fitness tests and medicals to make sure they are at the peak of physical fitness.
Increase in Size and Weight
Football players have grown massively in size and weight over the years. Size and strength have become so important in the modern game.
The Defensive Tackle has undergone one of the biggest changes in physical stature. Charged with stopping the oppositions running game size and strength have become the two most important characteristics for trying to do this.
Defensive Tackles of the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s would be considered relatively small by today’s standards. You only need to look at the difference in weight to see how a 1960s Defensive Tackle would be no match for a player in 2017, weighing a whole 64 lbs less!
Has Every Player Got Bigger?
You would think that every Football Player today is bigger than in the past, but this isn’t actually true. Not every player is bigger. The Running Back has been developed to focus more on speed and agility than size and weight.
In the 1930s Nroko Nagurski was a ball carrying powerhouse standing 6 foot 2 inches tall and weighing 226 lbs. He used this size and strength to power through tackles.
Today, running backs average 5 foot 11 inches and weigh 215 lbs.
Weight Increase of the Average American Male
Some of you may be thinking, the weight increase is impressive, but every American has increased in weight from 1960 to the present day. So let’s have a look at how the Average American Male has changed in weight.
In 1960 the average American male weighed 165 lbs, a whooping 86 lbs less than the Defensive Tackle.
Today the average male weighs 195 lbs, meaning an increase of 30 lbs, which equates to a 17.6% increase.
In comparison the Defensive Tackle has increased by 64 lbs over the same time period, an increase of 25%, meaning the defensive tackle now weighs 120 lbs more than the average male.
So both the average male and football player has increased in weight, but the Defensive Tackle has certainly packed on far more pounds!
Take Home Message
It is clear that the Defensive Tackle has become a symbol of size and strength as the game has evolved. So when you’re sitting on your couch watching the game this weekend just be pleased you’re not being lined up for a big hit from a Defensive Tackle!