The Patriots New OT Has a Superpower for Which There Can Be Only One Explanation: He's a Wizard
I'll confess that when the Patriots signed Calvin Anderson to an offensive line sorely in need of an upgrade, it didn't move the needle for me all that much. I wasn't expecting them to shop in the Offensive Tackle boutique in free agency, where the Orlando Browns and Mike McGlincheys were on sale at tremendous market. But I was hoping for maybe a nice value in a Kaleb McGary or a discount store Cameron Fleming. No disrespect intended to Anderson, mind you. A 6-foot-5, 300 pound UDFA out of Texas in 2020 who took over as the Broncos' full time left tackle halfway through last season and finished with the 52nd highest Pro Football Focus grade among all tackles. And who remarkably has drawn just one penalty in almost 750 career snaps, which is less than Isaiah Wynn typically had before half the crowd at Gillette got to their seats.
Anderson strikes me as your classic Patriots O-line depth guy. Capable of filling in at either tackle spot and not drawing any negative attention to himself. Someone in the mix for Adrian Klemm to work with as he tries to undo the damage created by Joe Judge's mismanagement last year.
That is, until he revealed this surreal fact about himself. Cued up to the 10:45 mark:
Anderson: Also, this might be cool for you. I don’t know if you guys know this, I still have to show the guys … but I can solve a Rubik’s Cube behind my back. I don’t know if any of you guys know that. One of these times I’ll bring it in.
Question: How do you do that?
CA: It’s a long, complicated explanation. … My rookie year, I actually signed a brand ambassadorship with Rubik’s. First pro athlete ever. And it’s because I came up with a different way to solve it blindfolded. This is gonna sound so nerdy, but, there’s a subset of guys who solve the Rubik’s Cube, people who solve the Rubik’s cube, that do it without looking. And there’s a couple different ways to do it. I came up with a new way. There's a cool explanation video on YouTube if you guys want to see it.
Q: Can you feel anything? If you can’t see colors, how do you?
CA: Not feeling. It’s more about memorization and a little bit of probability and some math involved. So, do you guys remember matrices from back in the day? So, you try to store the numbers … you number the cube off as if you were numbering a phone. And then if you think about Sudoku, Sudoku has nine boxes, each box has nine smaller boxes. You’re trying to get one through nine in the box while getting one through nine across three boxes, and preferably, down three boxes. So, if you think about the cube, each individual box you can think about as a Sudoku box. So, instead of the colors, you can think of them as numbers, then you wrap the Sudoku boxes around in that cube form. And then you can remember the numbers because they’re always correlated to another side with numbers. So, for example, a corner piece would be three on one side, a nine on one side and then a one on one side. So, it’s three, nine, one, no matter where it’s mixed up when you mix up the cube. So, then you remember the numbers in two sets of matrices. One of them is a three-by-two, and one of them is a two-by-two for the middle-stripe pieces. And then you know, there’s a whole bunch of explanation left, it involves some probability, but that’s the general basis of how you do it.
Q: Do you remember your fastest times behind the back or in front?
CA: My fastest time regular, without the behind the back, is 13 seconds. 13-point-something. And then blindfolded, probably in the 20s. But there’s guys in the world who can do it in four seconds, so I’m not up there.
There is no lie in Anderson's words. That YouTube video he mentioned bears it out:
I'm left speechless. I am utterly without speech. As someone who's never gotten beyond getting the first side all one color before grabbing a hammer, smashing the cube into a million pieces and scattering it to the wind, this utterly defies all comprehension.
Anderson's math-based explanation makes no sense either. At least not to a non-mathlete like myself who felt like I deserved the Nobel Prize after struggling to a C- in Calculus II. Maybe his method resonates with those of you who comprehend this stuff - and if you're that smart, why are you reading my lowest common denominator horseshit? - but to those of us who don't want anyone looking over our shoulder as we figure out a tip or add up a golf scorecard, it's suspect. It sounds like exactly the kind of explanation a wizard would give to explain a magic power so us Muggles don't try to burn him at the stake.
I can't promise this is going translate to Anderson being able to seal the edge for Rhamondre Stevenson or keep corner blitzers off Mac Jones. But I do know I want a guy who can perform impossible, supernatural feats of sorcery on my roster, regardless. Maybe for his next trick, he can make Quinnen Williams disappear for two games this year.