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Cowboys offensive line coach picks players based on how they dispense ketchup

Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Paul Alexander can tell if an offensive lineman will be successful based on how he uses a ketchup bottle. (Getty Images)

The Dallas Cowboys have built up one of the best offensive lines in the NFL over the past several seasons.

How America’s Team evaluates its offensive line going forward, though, may change.

Paul Alexander, who spent 23 seasons coaching the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive line, was hired in January to be Dallas’ new offensive line coach.

In 2011, Alexander wrote, “Preform: A Journey for Athletes, Musicians, Coaches and Teachers.” In that book, Alexander described how he determines who will be a successful offensive lineman.

Except that has nothing to do with football. Instead, it’s all determined by how they dispense ketchup from a bottle.


From his book:

Are you the type of person who knows why the number “57” is etched on the neck of a bottle of Heinz ketchup? I’ve asked this question at seminars for years and typically about five percent of the people in the audience know the answer.

Perhaps the “57” represents the number of ingredients in the recipe, but why the location? It’s placed at the precise spot where if one taps gently on the tipped bottle, the ketchup flows freely from the bottle. Even the new plastic squeeze bottles have a perfectly placed “57” at it’s optimal squeezing position. The person who figured that out was a genius.

When I see a large football player turn a bottle of ketchup upside down and pound at its heel with tremendous force yet with limited success, I immediately make a mental note:

He must either play defensive line, or if he plays offensive line, he can’t play for me

The “ketchup strategy” is definitely a new one, though you can’t doubt it’s effectiveness. Alexander has been coaching in the NFL for more than two decades, after all.

And if you’re currently vying for a spot on the Cowboys offensive line, you may want to think twice about how you dispense ketchup the next time you’re at a restaurant — that is, if you can even find a restaurant that still uses glass ketchup bottles anymore.

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