The Bengal's overtime field goal Sunday night was more than just talent or luck — it was science, according to a noted astrophysicist.
After staging an exceptional comeback in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati went on to beat the Seattle Seahawks 27-24 in overtime with a field goal that banged off the left upright before going through. But according to Neil deGrasse Tyson, Mike Nugent's 42-yard game winning field goal was helped by the Earth's rotation or the Coriolis Effect — the force enables north-south projectiles to deflect to the right.
Cincinnati Bengals kicker Mike Nugent (2) boots the winning field goal in overtime of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Today's @Bengals winning OT field goal was likely enabled by a 1/3-in deflection to the right, caused by Earth’s Rotation.— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) October 11, 2015
In the N. Hemisphere, Earth’s Coriolis force deflects airborne north-south projectiles to the right. About 1/2-in per 50 yds.— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) October 11, 2015
The @Bengals stadium isn’t oriented exactly North-South. And the field goal was 42-yds. Yielding a 1/3-in deflection, not 1/2— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) October 11, 2015
As Tyson pointed out in his series of tweets, as Paul Brown Stadium isn't oriented exactly north-south, Nugent's kick would have had a one-third of an inch deflection.