Eyes, Brain Make Cards' Fitzgerald Quite the Catch

Star receiver has rare visual skills and a souped-up onboard computer for analysis
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2009 11:41 AM CST
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald pulls in a touchdown pass as Seattle Seahawks' Julius Jones defends Dec. 28, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – More than height, speed, or jumping ability, highly developed eyesight and an extraordinary internal computer make Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald a top-tier NFL receiver, a scientist tells the Wall Street Journal. Fitzgerald’s optometrist grandfather put him through drills to improve his “visual dominance,” enabling him to take a snapshot of the ball in flight despite distractions; Fitzgerald’s “predictive control” helps him meet the ball at the perfect spot for a catch.

The result? In some photos, Fitzgerald can be seen catching with his eyes closed. Fitzgerald, whose Cardinals host Philadelphia on Sunday for a chance to go to the Super Bowl, calls it “second nature.” Says his coach, “I don’t know how he makes those catches, but there’s no doubt Larry has an ability to catch a ball that is special.”