D.K. Metcalf brings to mind the old NFL’s Fastest Man competitions

Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf will run the 100-meter dash on Sunday at the USATF Golden Games and Distance Open, a track meet that can earn qualification for the U.S. Olympic Trials. Seeing an NFL player running a timed race in the offseason is unusual, but it didn’t used to be.

In the 1980s and 1990s, NFL players regularly competed in the NFL’s Fastest Man, a series of 60-yard one-on-one races that were nationally televised and resulted in one player being crowned as the fastest in the league.

Video from the 1988 NFL’s Fastest Man, featuring a field of Darrell Green, Mark Duper, Vance Johnson, Herschel Walker, Rod Woodson, Ricky Nattiel, Haywood Jeffries and Willie Gault, is embedded in this post.

The winner got $20,000, which serves as an indication of why these events don’t happen anymore: In those days, that was real money to NFL players. Today, salaries have skyrocketed, and the kind of money you could make for winning an NFL’s Fastest Man competition would be viewed by most players as chump change. The last time something like this was tried, with the “40 Yards of Gold” event in 2019, players ended up suing because they didn’t get paid.

But that 1988 NFL’s Fastest Man was a lot of fun. Watch the video to see who won.