clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Could Theo John Kill A Wolf With His Bare Hands?

I ask only the most important questions, especially when it comes to wildlife combat

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at DePaul
The part of the wolf will be played by Devin Gage.
Nuccio DiNuzzo-USA TODAY Sports

Summer, as we are all well aware, is a top tier season. Literally everything about the season is good...... except there’s no college basketball for me to watch. I have to fill my time with dumb things like rooftop bars and rec league sports instead of holing up in my living room wondering if this will finally be the day that Bob Huggins learns how to coach a real offense. Truly a miserable way to live. My mouth yearns for the smallest drop of basketball discussion to graze my parched lips. I’ll talk about something, ANYTHING, to fill the void of the offseason.

For example.

Do you think Theo John can kill a wolf with his bare hands?

With the help of one of my dear friends, Boulevard’s Tank 7, I openly pondered this thought to the other writers of Anonymous Eagle in the middle of last season. I have since been completely unable to think about anything other than this topic. My thought process has gone from “fun hypothetical” to “borderline obsession”. I just need to flesh out this debate so I can finally move on with my life.

First, some ground rules. No outside weapons can be used by either being in this fight. Only feet, hands and teeth can be determining factors. There are also many different types and ages of wolf, but Theo will be combating with a gray wolf, the most common type of wolf in Wisconsin. This particular hypothetical wolf is also an adult at its peak strength and is a male. As much as I would love to topple over your ideas of physical strength as it relates to gender, male wolves appear to be the stronger sex among this species. My apologies to the female wolf population.

In terms of setting this is an open field, so no one can hide behind any trees or create tools. Essentially the only use of intellect that can be necessary is to determine how attacks are sequenced in an attempt to truly measure full fighting ability.

And now, the battle.


Theo John decided to take a hike in the lush woods of northern Wisconsin following his daily breakfast of a chain-linked fence and gravel. He crosses a raging river on a fallen tree to a clearing where he encounters a stay-at-home male wolf protecting his young while the mother is off working at an investment bank (I’ll settle for toppling your ideas of family dynamics as it relates to gender). While the wolf has made clear that Theo will not be allowed to take another step in his direction, the tree-bridge falls into the water and is engulfed by the water. Theo’s hesitation is taken as aggression by the wolf and he begins to attack. There is no escape for either party; this is a battle to the death. Who will emerge with their life?

In the interest of painting John in a clean light I made him the defender, which places him at a disadvantage as the wolf has a running start. An above average wolf can run at 35 miles per hour and can weigh 150 pounds or more. That kind of force condensed into a smaller body would almost surely knock over the Marquette center. The minute his back hits the floor it’s game over for him. Wolves do have a disadvantage when it comes to agility as humans have a better ability to move side to side on a dime. I say that John can survive the first, and most crucial, attack.

From there the fight will be determined solely on whether or not the wolf can get a chance to bite him. They can achieve a bite force of over 1000 pounds/square inch. For context, that’s almost triple the force of an average dog’s bite and more than the amount of force required to crushed our strongest bone, the femur. If the wolf is able to sink his teeth into Theo then he’s good as dead. He’ll need to get to the wolf’s weakest spot, the back of the neck, while avoiding those dreaded teeth.

While his massive size will certainly give him more of an advantage in this fight than I would have, it won’t matter as much as I initially thought. It’s not the body-on-body fight that it would be if he were fighting, say, a bear. It’ll be more like a thumb war but with entire bodies instead of appendages, where tactical movements have to be made to put the opponent in a compromising position. From there it does become a battle of strength. The wolf here has the tactical advantage. He’s spent the better part of 4 years being trained to hunt and has millions of years worth of ancestors crafting their own genetic makeup to achieve this goal in the best possible way. Humans will pick mates just because they have a good jawline and will spent 18 years learning how to write an essay. Theo is at least in the top 1% of humans in terms of physical abilities, though. If the wolf takes a bite at his legs he can use the good footwork that he uses in the post to dodge the bite and quickly counter with his strong hands.

This won’t be a Smash Bros type of fight where 7 minutes will be spent on making crazy combinations of moves to slowly chip away at the opponent’s health until someone perishes. The wolf will be more aggressive in trying to kill Theo as quickly as possible before he has the chance to hurt his puppies (in his eyes. John would never do such a thing). Theo needs a window of opportunity where he can take a grab at the neck and subdue the wolf to a point where he can’t get bit and them finish him off from there. He needs to avoid panicking throughout this fight, though. Staying cool under pressure is a trait required of most athletes, and I haven’t seen anything from Theo that would indicate he can’t stay calm in pressure situations. There is quite a bit more at stake here, but at least we have a morsel of precedent here.

I’m not going to plant my flag completely on one side or the other, but I will put the overall advantage to the wolf. I’m given it a 60% chance here in large part because of the amount of time they’ve spent in these types of fights throughout their life. I desperately wanted to get Theo’s perspective on this, but he didn’t answer the blind DM requests of some Twitter dude that he’s never met before. Weird how that works. If you have any sort of personal relationship with him, please ask him and report back to me. In the meantime I’ll put a poll here to see what you all think.

Poll

Who Would Emerge Victorious In The Situation Described Above?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Theo John
    (97 votes)
  • 29%
    The Wolf
    (41 votes)
138 votes total Vote Now