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Jason Garrett wants the Cowboys to know the Pythagorean theorem

Jason Garrett

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett speaks during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


Cowboys coach Jason Garrett graduated from Princeton, and he wants to have smart players on his team.

Specifically, Garrett wants players with a firm grasp of geometry, which includes understanding the Pythagorean theorem, which states that in a right triangle, the square of the length of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the lengths of the two legs. Garrett thinks it’s important to know that when thinking about how long it will take a player to run between two points on the field.

“If you’re running straight from the line of scrimmage, six yards deep, that’s a certain depth, right? It takes you a certain amount of time,” Garrett said. “But if you’re doing it from 10 yards inside and running to that same six yards, that’s the hypotenuse of that right triangle. It’s longer, right? So they have to understand that, that it takes longer to do that. That’s an important thing. Quarterbacks need to understand that, too. If you’re running a route from here to get to that spot, it’s going to be a little longer, you might need to be a little fuller in your drop.”

Garrett said he told players to look up the Pythagorean theorem if they didn’t know it.

“We talked about Pythagorus and it’s been going for the last few days,” Garrett said.

Players on the Cowboys may not be thrilled about getting a math lecture, but Garrett just did a big favor to geometry teachers across the country. This fall, when schoolkids across the country inevitably ask when they’re going to need to know this in real life, their teachers can say that if you want to play in the NFL, you’d better know the Pythagorean theorem.