Compare THAT to a marathon

Torrin Thatcher

Since I am my mom’s favorite son, I thought it would be appropriate to suck up to her a bit to keep that title as my own. I’ve decided to turn my back on mainstream sports for one week and spend this column in celebration of one of my mom’s favorite activities — running long distances. In need for column inspiration and brownie points, let’s talk about the distance of a marathon in terms that sports fans are able understand — 26.22 miles.
Jerry Rice is the NFL all-time leader in yards from scrimmage with 23,540 total yards. If I pull out my calculator and do some very complicated math, I see that this is 13.4 miles. From all the pass catching that Rice did for the 49ers, Raiders and Seahawks in his brilliant 20-year career, it adds up to just over half what a marathoner does in a few hours.
If Rice did want to get the additional yards to reach the marathon mark using his 14.8-yards-per-catch career average, he would have to catch 1,528 more balls. Considering that Rice is the all-time leader with 1,549 snags, he would have to double his career total, and I don’t quite see it happening. Rice did score 208 touchdowns in his career, so I suppose that could make up for this specific shortcoming.
Karl Malone made a ridiculous amount of free throws in his career, with 9,787 out of 13,188. Since we know that a free throw is 15 feet, we can see the distance the ball flew after Malone talked to it while he thought no one was looking. Those successful free throws total to 27.8 miles.
In Malone’s 18 seasons in Salt Lake and one in Los Angeles, it took 1,476 career games to rack up the necessary mileage on his right wrist. Needless to say, the Mailman delivered for us. I wonder how many fewer free throws he would have attempted if not for the pick-and-roll combo with John Stockton, a distant relative of mine — must be where I got my point guard ability.
Reggie Miller made 2,560 out of 6,486 three-point field goals. We’ll assume these attempts are not from the corner, where it’s shorter, and from the usual length of 23.75 feet. Reggie’s scoring kicks add up to 11.5 miles, not quite “downtown” by my mom’s standards.
His attempts rack up to 29.2 miles, but do misses count? A more interesting statistic would be how many miles Reggie ran throughout his career just by running around picks and screens to get him open for those clutch shots. Maybe that would add up to a marathon, but as of now he is just Cheryl’s sister.
Rickey Henderson stole 1,406 bases in his time playing with a ball and stick. Each base is 90 feet apart, so I suppose we could find out the mileage in this case — 23.97 miles. He got close to the total, but didn’t quite get there. He stole bases at an 80 percent clip in his career, which made his tally short. He would have needed a success rate of 89 percent to reach a marathon from his 1,741 career stolen base attempts, or 133 more attempts without getting picked off. A career rate this high is quite unthinkable, but if there is anyone who thinks he’s capable, it’s Rickey, even if he is approaching the half-century mark of age.
Brett Favre is still racking up the yards for the — dare I say it? — playoff-bound Jets. As of last week, Sir Favre has a total 63,892 yards through the air and 1,801 on the ground. Those rushing yards are basically a mile, and those passing yards are 36.3 miles.
For fun, I used Mapquest to see how far it is from my room to Lambeau Field, and it spit out 28.50 miles. I could travel that distance in approximately 34 minutes with my car, or I could use my right arm and spend 18 years in the NFL to reach Favre’s total of 37.32 career miles. I suppose the mileage Favre’s racking up in New York isn’t that bad — those monochromatic yellow taxis help him out.

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