Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

February 5, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with John Brenkus

Buzzmaster
  (12:58 PM)

John's here!

Mike Jones (Long Beach)

How do you come up with ideas for your shows?

John Brenkus
  (12:59 PM)

We have a core group of producers who are extreme sports fans. We literally sit around and throw out the questions that we've always wanted to know. Through that process, we find ones that are geared toward the general audience, not just sports fans. The great thing about the process is the good ideas are the ones that work. There are many that the experiment didn't work out or they just weren't that interesting. The ones that you see are ones that have had thousands of hours of research and passes our test of being interesting.

Deirdre (Stamford, CT)

Do you have doctors or scientists who work for you? How do you know all of these stats and formulas?

John Brenkus
  (1:01 PM)

We're on experiment 160-something. All of the experiments involve either a scientist or someone that's an expert in what we're doing. We have an incredible rolodex of someone in every sport and every field of science. Everything is fact checked and based in real science. No one person knows everything. But the show reflects the best knowledge of the world's foremost experts.

Elizabeth Gross (LA)

Did you get hurt when Matt Willig flattened you?

John Brenkus
  (1:03 PM)

I actually got hurt more in the rehearsal than in the actual take. We wanted to do a "half speed" take before the cameras rolled and when I fell down, I hit my head pretty hard, just like the crash test dummy. In the take for camera, he hit my much harder, but I was far more aware of making sure my head didn't slam into the turf. Other than a sore neck, a slightly tweaked back and a headache, I fortunately didn't get too hurt. Ironically Willig was pretty sore the next morning because we did it for camera about 10 times and every time he fell too.

John Brenkus
  (1:04 PM)

I asked him, when was the last time he hit a guy my size and he yelled, "I've never hit a guy your size. Not even the kickers."

Joanne (Groton, CT)

I LOVE SPORT SCIENCE! You put yourself in so many scary situations - why don't you hire stunt men more?

John Brenkus
  (1:04 PM)

Get somebody else to do it? And miss out on all the fun? No way.

John Brenkus
  (1:05 PM)

Besides that, it makes for more entertaining TV when an average schmo like me gets flattened.

mark (okemos,mi.)

what has been the coolest myth to debunk.

John Brenkus
  (1:07 PM)

My favorite myth or test is always the most recent one we do. The last test we shot was testing whether or not a RB was as powerful as a diesel truck. That's currently my favorite...soon to be replaced by the next cool experiment we come up with.

Jordan Marion (Oakland)

How was it working with Marshawn Lynch? He seems like a lot of fun!

John Brenkus
  (1:08 PM)

He was a total blast. In the show, you can see him dancing around with our motion capture sensors on. The animated skeleton on the screen, he gave the nickname "Little Blood."

Dan (Brooklyn, NY)

Isn't make these stories expensive? All of the high tech equipment, your huge facility and all of the people involved - seems like a major operation...

John Brenkus
  (1:10 PM)

We do have a huge operation for these shows. It's an even bigger machine than you think. The key to our success is being able to turn around high quality programming quickly. It has taken literally years to build the machine. Now that the show is on ESPN, we're even taking it to the next level. Keep watching. Even bigger and better things to come.

Rob Monroe (Arlington, Va)

What sport seems most dangerous of the ones you have tested on the show?

John Brenkus
  (1:11 PM)

Rugby. It's truly insane. Those guys hit every bit as hard as NFL players and they're not wearing pads.

Bryan Heffernan (Lufkin TX)

this morning on sport center you compared Marshawn Lynch to a diesel truck. however this didnt seem like an accurate depiction. he was wearing cleats on but the truck only had stock tires not one that would help him get traction. either he should have done it in sneaker or given the truck more aggressive tires. also you only had the truck in two wheel drive. therefore it was not an accurate display of the trucks power.

John Brenkus
  (1:14 PM)

What you're referring to is factoring in the coefficient of friction. We did consider how much friction was generated by the player on grass and the truck on asphalt. The point of the experiment was to test each subject (Marshawn and the truck) in their own environment. Marshawn would not have been able to pull as much weight on the asphalt, likewise the truck would not pull the same weight on the turf. So, apples to apples, we wanted to make sure that Marshawn and the truck were doing the experiment in their own environment.

John Brenkus
  (1:15 PM)

No matter how you slice it, an NFL RB is going to beat a diesel truck. The question is by how much. In this case, this experiment, Marshawn was 7 times more powerful than the truck. Incredibly impressive.

John Pfeiffer (LA)

Who's going to win on Sunday?

John Brenkus
  (1:16 PM)

Drew Brees has appeared on the show and we became fast friends, so we're big fans of Drew Brees. We want Peyton Manning to do it, so I dare not pick one over the other.

Brian (Salem, NH)

I liked the epsiode where you proved which sport has the smelliest athletes. I have football gloves that stink after a while. Is simply taking them out of your gym bag and letting them air out the best way to get them not to smell?

John Brenkus
  (1:18 PM)

The best way to not have them smell is to not be a smelly guy. Which is impossible. As the experiment indicated, smell is generated by flatuence of bacteria. So, don't feel bad if your clothes smell, just tell everyone it's the bacteria.

John Brenkus
  (1:18 PM)

Sweat doesn't stink. It's the bacteria. As how to remedy your situation, buy a lot of gloves.

John (San Francisco)

Is it possible to do stories about old athletes? Would love to see one about how Ali would fare against current boxers - is something like that possible?

John Brenkus
  (1:19 PM)

You're reading my mind. Stay tuned.

John Brenkus
  (1:21 PM)

Thanks for all of your support. Keep watching. More mind blowing experiments are coming your way. Follow our every move on Twitter: @Sport_Science.