# Brainy Ravens lineman John Urschel to star in HBO segment tonight

For a backup offensive lineman, John Urschel sure gets a lot of publicity. Just another benefit of being brainy.

Urschel, the Ravens' center/guard and a pitchman for Texas Instruments and Bose, is the focus of a 13-minute segment that will air tonight at 10 on HBO's Real Sports.

The story explores Urschel's love for learning, and the cognitive dissonance of a brilliant man smashing his head into 300-pound opponents at the risk of brain damage.

"Why did the topologist's marriage fail?" Urschel says in the piece, telling a math joke. "Because he thought arbitrary unions were open."

If that went over your head, you're not alone.

Real Sports correspondent Bernard Goldberg makes funny faces throughout the segment as he plays dumb to Urschel flexing his math muscles.

HBO's segment begins with Urschel explaining that a football team — facing a 14-point deficit in the final two minutes — should go for a 2-point conversion if it scores a touchdown, so long as its conversion rate is greater than 38 percent. It's an interesting theorem, considering a team has a better-than-average chance of converting at least one of the two tries, and if it converts the first one it can put itself in position for a game-winning score.

This isn't explored much further, but maybe typically aggressive coach John Harbaugh will reserve a spot for Urschel on the analytics team, if not on the starting offensive line.

Also in the piece we learn Urschel has a chalk board in his bedroom, and that he gave fellow lineman Jeremy Zuttah two math books for Christmas.

And that quarterback Joe Flacco isn't all that impressed with Urschel's math ability.

The reporter asks Flacco how important it is — on a scale of one to a million — that the man blocking for him is vying for a PhD in mathematics from MIT.

"Probably zero," Flacco says, noting that Urschel sometimes struggles to count to three or four when it's the snap count.

Ouch.

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But I bet Flacco doesn't know why the topologist's marriage failed.