Every week on Catch It Keep It, we present a challenge to a team of three builders/contestants: Use science, engineering and ingenuity to protect a dazzling prize from a devious machination that is designed to utterly demolish it.
Salivating football fans who can't wait for Sunday's season-opening NFL games will love this week's episode. The prize: tickets to the 2009 NFL Pro Bowl in Florida. The challenge: Move a football through a unique obstacle course inspired by five of the most extreme forces that football players have to face. Let's take a look:
The NFL Way: The coldest game on record is the 1982 AFC Championship game — aka, the "Freezer Bowl." Twenty-seven mph sustained winds at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium brought the temperature down to minus 37 degrees, and unsurprisingly, the hometown Cincinnati Bengals defeated the warm-weather San Diego Chargers 27-7.
The Catch It Keep It Way: We've submerged a football in liquid nitrogen for 48 hours. At 321 degrees below, even the most supple material is as brittle as glass. One false move and the football will shatter.
The NFL Way: One of the hottest games on record occurred in 2000, as the Philadelphia Eagles traveled to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. At kickoff, the temperature was already 109. During the game, the temperature on the field reached 130. The Eagles managed to endure the heat and rout the Cowboys 41-14, something that the team trainer credits to making the players drink pickle juice to pre-hydrate. Really.
The Catch It Keep It Way: One-hundred-thirty is hot, but our contestants have to navigate the football through a five yards of flamethrowers, blasting the entire field at 3,000 degrees.
The NFL Way: Mammoth, charging defenders hit with enough force to cause compound fractures (see: Joe Theismann, Lawrence Taylor). One of the nastiest hits I've ever seen happened in the 2006 NFC Division Playoffs. As New Orleans Saints rookie Reggie Bush turned for a pass, Sheldon Brown of the Philadelphia Eagles screamed in from the blind side and literally folded Bush in half. Reggie, dating Kim Kardashian at the time, ended up crawling on all fours back to the sideline. What does this have to do with Kim? Nothing. Hi Kim. Call me?
The Catch It Keep It Way: Our tackling arms are made of 5-foot steel blades, affixed to industrial drill press motors that spin at 3,000 rpm. If the ball comes in contact with one of these, it will be torn to shreds.
Chance of rain:
The NFL Way: Only nine of the 32 NFL teams have indoor or covered fields, meaning teams frequently have to play in wet, stormy weather. The most rainsoaked season ever? 1995, when both Los Angeles NFL teams (the Raiders and the Rams) packed their bags and left for new cities. Fourteen years later, the second most populous city in the nation is still sad and soggy, with no professional football to cheer for.
The Catch It Keep It Way: We couldn't bring in Al Davis to take the prize away from the builders, so instead we built a wall of high-pressure water hoses that cross the field with enough force to move a car, or end the season for the contestants.
The NFL Way: Sacking the quarterback is a great way to push the ball back defensively while simultaneously killing the spirit of the opposing team. When police sacked Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick for dog fighting, it destroyed the team for the entire next season. With the unquestionably talented Vick at the helm, Altlanta finished first in their division in 2004. In 2007, Vick's first year in prison, they finished fourth, or last.
The Catch It Keep It Way: Fill three 55 gallon steel drums with enough weight to match a 300-pound linebacker. Hang those drums on chains, suspend them high above the field, and let them swing down at high velocity. The contestants will only have a moment to avoid the blitz. If not, spirits won't be the only thing shattered.
Catch It Keep It airs Fridays at 10/9c on Science Channel. For more on Catch It Keep It, follow Mike on Twitter. For breaking news and scoop follow TVGuide on Twitter.