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Some friends and I were at Disneyland this past week. We spent an hour arguing back and forth whether it is possible for someone to throw an NFL football over the Matterhorn? I think it is, but no one else really thought it was possible.

What do you guys think? Is this humanly possible?

The Matterhorn is 146 feet (44.5 metres) tall. Not sure how wide the base of the mountain is. It's ok if the football hits the other side of the mountain (as long as it clears the top).

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I almost freaked out when I read this. The Matterhorn, 146 feet tall!? Seems I missed the "at Disneyland" bit. In any case, a bit more information to the question might be good. It's a bit pop-sci at the moment anyway. – Noldorin Jan 3 '11 at 1:54
Of course it is! Have you never heard of the twelve labors of Hercules? On a more serious note, this question is a candidate for closure IMHO. – user346 Jan 3 '11 at 1:54
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I love manly arguments!

From this hail mary pass, it looks like, with initial angle 45deg and velocity $\sim 30$ m/s, the best football pass can go 70 yards in 4 sec hang time. If he had thrown it straight up, the maximum height would have been about 50 yards, just barely making it. Give him a running start and no 300-lb defenders to worry about, and I say it's possible!

Best NFL punts have hang time of 6-8 secs, so they also would have just made it.

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I don't think the human body is set up to get the same throwing velocity at all elevations (angles). An overhand throw is gaining momentum in a somewhat circular motion, and probably reaches a maximum release velocity at near horizontal. I bet a purely verticle throw wouldn't be nearly as fast. And running won't help produce vertical velocity. I do agree with you about the kick, where vertical velocity probably isn't hard to achieve. – Omega Centauri Jan 3 '11 at 4:54

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