John Urschel continues to be math's most vocal cheerleader.
The Ravens offensive lineman -- who became the team's starting center this week -- just gave bulletin board material to every math department at every school in the country.
Urschel is considered the smartest man in the NFL and with good reason: He graduated from Penn State with a 4.0 grade-point average in mathematics, already has an advanced degree and has been published in academic journals. He tutors children in math, he tweets about his love of math, he writes for The Players Tribune as its "advanced stats columnist." He has given a talk about math at the National Security Agency.
And math's No. 1 fan is at it again, writing a compelling opinion article for Time this week titled: "Mathematicians are Just as Cool as Football Players."
Urschel contends that while sports coaches drive and push their students to be the best, for some reason math teachers don't always do that.
Urschel said he recognized even in high school that he had some athletic potential, but "it paled in comparison to my academic potential.
"And yet, while my football coaches told me I could be an offensive lineman in the Big Ten and that I could play professional football someday, not one of my math teachers told me I could major in math. No one told me I could become a professional mathematician. No one told me I could be John Von Neumann."
"I wish more teachers had the same fire and the same passion about their subjects as coaches do about sports, and the same desire to recognize and develop potential," he writes.
Urschel is the first to admit that, "Math is not for everyone. It takes a lot of talent and a lot more desire. In that way, it’s no different than football or any elite profession."
"Granted, football coaches have at least half their work done for them. Football is cool. It’s what children see when they turn on the television. It’s what they hear their fathers talk about," Urschel writes. "What they don’t realize is that math is cool, too. You would be shocked to know how many of my teammates over the years want to talk about mathematics with me.
"Being a mathematician—doing research on the orbits of planets and artificial intelligence, coming up with original solutions to unsolved problems, presenting a paper to the National Security Agency—is cool."
The whole column is worth a read.
It's yet another reason that Web site Deadspin once wrote in a headline: "John Urschel Loves Math More Than You Love Anything."