The 40-yard dash is the main event at the annual NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana. It’s where names are made, draft positions are improved, islands are offered for record-breaking times and Tom Brady can make himself the butt of all jokes.
The slowest time in combine history belongs to offensive lineman Isaiah Thompson, who trudged across the finish line at a meandering 6.06 seconds. That time is so slow that even NFL reporters in heels, like Detroit Lions team reporter Tori Petry, can beat it.
When Petry laced ’em up in 2017, she smoked Thompson’s time.
NFL Reporter’s 5.98 40-Yard Dash in Heels
The following is a Q&A conducted with Petry by a former Fanbuzz staff writer
Well, her name is Tori Petry and she’s not just here for awesome viral videos. Naturally, she was in Indianapolis to cover the Combine actions for the Lions and she was kind enough to give us an interview about the video and what she enjoyed most about the whole experience.
FanBuzz: Did you have any idea you would be running the 40-yard dash when you got to the Combine? I imagine you might have packed a pair of shoes if you did.
Tori Petry: I honestly had no idea! The “fan experience” at the combine was brand new this year, so we didn’t even know there would be a place to run the 40 or do any combine drills. I actually was lamenting the whole week that the only pair of shoes I packed were the heeled boots I wore for the run because I spent so much of the days walking around chasing interviews and my feet were killing me by the end of each day. Turned out the heels ended up being quite popular when it was all said and done!
FB: That’s amazing. If you could do it all over again, would you have grabbed some sneakers or something else? To shave some time off the run perhaps?
TP: I might have packed my cleats! But then again, the heels were what made it so fun because it’s not something you see every day. I do wish I had put my head down for the start – better technique there probably could have shaved some time off.
FB: What do you think you could have shaved it down to? A full tenth down to 5.88 perhaps?
TP: The head down had to be at least a tenth right?! Actually warming up/stretching probably would have improved the time too. And of course wearing the proper attire would’ve helped.
FB: How does it feel to be faster than the great Rich Eisen?
TP: Haha! Technically, Rich ran a 5.94 last year at the combine, so all-time he is faster by a tad. I think next year, we need to go head to head for St. Jude’s. Or at least get our runs overlaid on NFL Network’s Simulcam. I’d probably have to wear the heels again though since it’s tradition, just like Rich wears the suit.
FB: Fun fact (in case no one has hit you with this yet): You were almost faster than a current professional center. Ben Jones of the Houston Texans ran a 5.82. Do you think you have a real shot at beating that? With just some stretching you should have him, right?
TP: Oh totally! But I also probably have a lot less weight to propel through the run than he does, so I have an advantage there. Better aerodynamics.
FB: When you ran the 40-yard dash did you have any idea that it would go viral like this? It’s gotten a ton of play just about everywhere. And will the Lions let you on the practice squad at least?
TP: Absolutely NO idea. We were just filming what we thought was a goofy little promo for our detroitlions.com combine coverage, and the attention it has gotten is just crazy! It’s fun to see people were entertained though. I think the practice squad is doing just fine without me – plus it’d be pretty hard to practice AND cover the team at the same time 🙂
FB: I think I have one question left. If you could run a 40-yard dash against anyone (other than Rich Eisen) who would it be and why?
TP: Maybe a slow offensive lineman so I could feel like my skills were actually legit? No, I think it would be fun to face off against other ladies in the NFL, whether reporters like myself or trailblazers like Jen Welter and Sarah Thomas. The guys can’t have all the fun. And I think our athleticism could surprise some people! We’d of course come better prepared with the right shoes if that ever happened.
If the NFL could organize a combine just for the people who cover and work in the league, that would be pretty amazing. Petry actually plays in a women’s football league and is a member of the Detroit Dark Angels so she knows a thing or two about the game. She’s good enough to have a highlight reel you can check out below:
Hopefully this can become a tradition every year like Eisen’s run and we can get an extra day out of the combine. Because who doesn’t love watching non-pro athletes do their best impressions?
This post was originally published on March 7, 2017.