August 21, 2012
Browns QB Brandon Weeden Hits Clay Pigeons with a Football
By Phil Bourjaily
To celebrate the beginning of both football and hunting seasons, here is Brandon Weeden, rookie quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, breaking clays with a football. We had shown a clip of Ravens QB Joe Flaco doing the same a while ago, but that was faked. This is the real thing.
Weeden, who is now 28, was drafted 10 years ago as a pitcher by the Yankee organization. He told Sports Illustrated he missed his first eight and was getting nervous, as the Sports Science people had only brought one box of 100 targets to the shoot. After dialing the timing in, Weeden was able to hit quite a few, including four out of five at one point.
As nearly as I can tell he is hitting these birds at a range of about five yards. If you think about it, a shotgun pattern is about the diameter of a football at that range, which is something to think about when you shoot station 8 on the skeet field. The difference between shooting clays with a shotgun and a football, of course, is that we just have to point the gun and pull the trigger and our pellets arrive almost instantaneously on target while Weeden has to time his throwing motion perfectly to account for both the time it takes to throw the ball and the ball’s time in flight. It’s a remarkable feat to hit any of these birds no matter how many he wound up hitting out of 100.
This video reminds me of something I read in “Great Pitchers of the Major Leagues” a book I had when I was young. Cardinals pitchers Dizzy and Daffy Dean claimed they grew up hunting squirrels with rocks. Watching Weeden hit a couple of these clays so hard they boil into dust, I can almost believe the rocks and squirrels story.