D.K. Metcalf brings to mind the old NFL’s Fastest Man competitions

Wild Card Round - Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks
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Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf will run the 100-meter dash on Sunday at the USATF Golden Games and Distance Open, a track meet that can earn qualification for the U.S. Olympic Trials. Seeing an NFL player running a timed race in the offseason is unusual, but it didn’t used to be.

In the 1980s and 1990s, NFL players regularly competed in the NFL’s Fastest Man, a series of 60-yard one-on-one races that were nationally televised and resulted in one player being crowned as the fastest in the league.

Video from the 1988 NFL’s Fastest Man, featuring a field of Darrell Green, Mark Duper, Vance Johnson, Herschel Walker, Rod Woodson, Ricky Nattiel, Haywood Jeffries and Willie Gault, is embedded in this post.

The winner got $20,000, which serves as an indication of why these events don’t happen anymore: In those days, that was real money to NFL players. Today, salaries have skyrocketed, and the kind of money you could make for winning an NFL’s Fastest Man competition would be viewed by most players as chump change. The last time something like this was tried, with the “40 Yards of Gold” event in 2019, players ended up suing because they didn’t get paid.

But that 1988 NFL’s Fastest Man was a lot of fun. Watch the video to see who won.

20 responses to “D.K. Metcalf brings to mind the old NFL’s Fastest Man competitions

  1. I miss these events. You would think the players would be happy to compete just for bragging rights.

  2. But you couldn’t have these competitions because the fastest players that you really want to see would be demanding millions of dollars to show up.

  3. But don’t make it a 40yd dash. 40’s can be grossly misleading for a lot of reasons, and not an indication of pure top line speed. If they do something like that, it should be 100m. And for the record, D.K is going to get annihilated. Lots of people can run 4.3 40s. Only a handful of people in the world can pull off 10.05 100m

  4. But… if you get injured away from the facility…. So, ya, there’s that whole voided salary piece that might make $20k seem even less than you thought.

  5. PFF did one. It went pretty much according to the guys’ recorded speed prior to the event. Donte Jackson, the CB from the Panthers won. Marquise Goodwin would probably win anything he enters, though, dude is a literal Olympian.

  6. These events were 60 yard dashes. It would be interesting to see who would win. I seem to remember Darrell Green winning these several times. In the video he had a 6.10 – 60 yard dash. Makes you wonder what his 40 would have been.

  7. DK Metcalf ( Could he possibly be related to the former Olympic sprinter Ralph Metcalf, born in Atlanta?) would be fantastic in a 4×100 relay (His Oxford high school 4×100 relay team still holds the Mississippi State record…and at USC O.J. was on a 4×100 relay that held the world record for years…) or something where he could have a moving start, coming out of the blocks effectively is a real art, not easily learned…

  8. The answer to the question of who’s the fastest man in the NFL is Tyreek Hill and I doubt that it is even close.

  9. When Metcalf ran down Buddha Baker last year, per Next Gen Stats, he traveled 114.8 yards and his top speed was measured at 22.64 mph. In football pads. Per USA Today, as a senior at Oxford High School Metcalf finished the 110m Hurdles in 14.89 seconds. To qualify for the Olympic Trials 100m, Metcalf would likely need to beat 10.2 seconds (10.05 automatically qualifies). …Metcalf can run like the wind and I wish him luck.

  10. If they bumped it to $500k, I would imagine you could get a few guys to come out of hiding.

  11. The graciousness of the runners, the short shorts, and a young and suave Ahmad Rashad harkens back to a golden age of the NFL. Thank you for posting this video.

  12. Metcalf, to enter this race, must have trained and knows he is roughly in the competitive ball park. I am looking forward to seeing his effort. I just hope he has gotten permission from the Seahawks in case he blows out his Achilles in the event.

  13. For his sake, I hope he red his contract or got the blessing of the Seahawks. I can’t imagine they’d be thrilled to see him pull a hamstring, or worse.

  14. Those were dudes that had the whole package. Talent, charisma, sportsmanship, honor. You name it.

  15. Tall & wide body DKM needs to further develop is short game — instead of his 100m speed.

  16. In the May (, 2021 race, wath for a runner named Fred Kerley, 6’3″ 205, ran a 9.91 on April 24…he is the size of a big NFL WR

  17. Seems like most people are going to watch just to see him fail. Kind of bummer, that.

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