Bo Jackson Has The Unofficial Record for the 40-Yard Dash

Published on July 6th, 2024 2:40 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

The legendary Sprint by Bo Jackson. The record for fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine belongs to John Ross, who ran the 40 in a scorching 4.22 seconds at the 2017 NFL Combine.

This beat the record that was held by running back Chris Johnson, who ran the 40 in 4.24 seconds at the 2008 NFL Combine.

The "unofficial" record for the fastest 40 yard dash, however, belongs to the legendary Bo Jackson.

Jackson's 40 time is unofficial because he actually didn't attend the 1986 NFL Combine.

In Jackson's own words - why would he go to the combine when he was already the slam-dunk #1 overall pick? He had nothing to prove, and besides, he was still contemplating whether he was going to play baseball or football.

The rumor of Jackson running a 4.12 40-yard dash at the 1986 NFL Combine actually didn't happen, as Jackson didn't attend the Combine. Instead, some writers opined that Jackson was CAPABLE of running a 4.12, but it never actually happened.

Here is what DID happen.

In 1986, Auburn was hosting a regional combine. Bo Jackson was on his way to a workout, and his coaches asked him to stop by at the combine. There were some scouts in attendance, and would Jackson mind running a quick 40 yard dash?

The indoor bubble was small, and Jackson didn't have enough room to properly bring himself to a stop at the end of his 40-yard dash.

In his first run, Jackson pulled up with 10 yards remaining in the 40, and still ended up posting a 4.30 time.

An absolutely incredible number given Jackson's size (230 pounds) and given the fact that he pulled up early.

Jackson's coaches wanted him to run again. What if we opened the back door? That way you can run as hard as you can - just run out through the back door when you are done.

Jackson said ok - we'll do it one more time. Give me five minutes to catch my breath and we'll do this again.

Jackson then ran the 40-yard dash in 4.13 seconds, which would have been the fastest on record if it had been run at the 1986 NFL Combine.

The scouts in attendance were blown away by the time. For Jackson, he just shrugged his shoulders and went to track-and-field practice.


Jackson's 40 time didn't help or hurt his draft ranking - he was taken first overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the 1986 NFL Draft.

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