As we slowly turn the corner on the winter solstice and the days slowly start to lengthen, we are quickly approaching my favorite time of year: NFL PLAYOFFS. For me this hallowed season has the feel and fervor of a yearly religious celebration culminating on the most reverent of all days, Super Bowl Sunday. Footballs roasting on an open fire!
Whilst absorbing all the pre-playoff hysteria this holiday season, I noticed repetitive chanting of one of the most cherished phrases uttered by many a football pontiff and their disciples…..
WE CONTROL OUR OWN DESTINY!
Ah yes, being able to manipulate the fates* has probably been a worthy endeavor since the time of Homer. I can envision many a general standing before his troops before a big battle and reaching the crescendo of his pre battle speech with this all too familiar battle cry.
General George S. Patton: "…..we’ve going to shoot them in the belly. We’re going to rip out their guts out and use them to grease our tank tracks. We are going to go through them like crap through a goose. We are going to control our own destiny!"
At this point Lt. Dweeb raises his hand and asks the question: "But General sir, doesn’t destiny by definition mean the predetermined or inevitable course of events? Therefore, the phrase "controlling one’s owns destiny" literally makes no sense."
General George S. Patton: " Arrest that man!!!!"
As we all ponder Lt. Dweebs assertation, lets look at some other cherished football clichés and prognosticate some potential future ones.
HE HAS TO CATCH THE PASS AT IT’S HIGHEST POINT.
It has been many a day since I took my Physics 101 class, but I dare say the highest point of the arc of most medium to deep passes is well beyond the reach of any football player, unless you are superman or rubberman. (Was there a rubberman?) Never the less, I hear this football phrase being uttered constantly by talking heads while reviewing a pass play highlight. The correct terminology should actually be, "The player needs to time his vertical ascent so that it intersects the trajectory of the football at the point of the players highest altitude along the arc of the trajectory that also is the highest relative to the earth and complete the reception of the football it at this intersection." Somehow I don’t think new substitute phrase will ever reach cliché status.
WE JUST HAVE TO EXECUTE BETTER.
Rumor has it that this currently all too overused football cliché was first used by the coach of the Texas Department of Corrections Inmate football team after a big loss in the 1st annual Red River Shootout with the McAlester Oklahoma Correctional Institution prison team. However, the terminology was quickly abandoned by the coaches after the permanent loss of the back up running back, Willie "Crazy Legs" Johnson, after his final appeal was overruled and his sentence was ultimately carried out.
WE JUST HAVE TO GO OUT AND PLAY 110 percent.
Lets think about this. Per Cent comes from the Latin phrase "per centum" meaning by the hundred. So 100 of 100 or 100 percent is by definition the most you can give. Or does that mean you are actually holding back on the team in the other games where everyone thought your were giving your all, but you actually were not, and now you will, which is about 10% more than everyone saw as what they thought was your maximum output…….ahh forget it ……lets just go out there and play 110 percent!
WE JUST HAVE TO PLAY THEM ONE GAME AT A TIME.
As opposed to playing them two games at a time? Which by the way is the football equivalent to baseball’s double header I am told. Actually the football instant double header was conceived (but immediately rejected by the league) by none other the George "Hard Head" Limboski after he was used as the poster child for the introduction of helmets prior to their subsequent adoption.
HE HAS ALLIGATOR ARMS.
It is not the arms I am most worried about, it is those alligator jaws that scare the H E double hockey sticks out of me! This term gain much more favor and usage than it’s sister term, "He has a kangaroo pouch".
The wonderful thing about football clichés is that they can pop up anytime from any where. A lot of them come from football announcers looking for the next cool catch phrase to describe a play, or a locker room interview with a player. But recently coaching press conferences have also yielded some pretty memorable ones. So here is a list of some of newer ones that have recently come on the scene.
YOU PLAY WIN THE GAME.
Herman Edwards demonstrates his extensive knowledge of football principles and strategies. Except for the Colts, this seems to be a universal concept.
THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THE WERE, AND WE LET THEM OFF THE HOOK!
This is one of my personal favorites. Coaches and players need to master the use of this cliché as it can cover so many situations. Most everyone, myself included still are not quite sure what it means, which makes it so nebulous as to be unquestionable.
HE JUST GOT SENT TO THE ASHMA FIELD.
In reality this Jimmy Johnson analogy turned cliché’ is limited to Cowboy fans mostly and has become a euphemism for being cut from the squad. My feeling is this term may soon be replace by the phrase "He Just Got Folked!"
HE IS JUST A GUY.
Whew! I was worried for a second he was some alien life form intent on absorbing the whole team and turning it into a pod. Luckily coach just showed me my fears were unfounded.
WE ARE WHO WE ARE.
I believe this kernel of wisdom was espoused extensively by Bill Parcells on his many travels throughout the league. On it’s face it is patently obvious, but deep down it coveys a much more varied meaning on many levels….I think.
Well if you have made it this far in my short expose then perhaps you could add some more football cliché knowledge and wisdom. Also, CONSIDER YOURSELF SUCKED!
* the Fates, Classical Mythology. the three goddesses of destiny, known to the Greeks as the Moerae and to the Romans as the Parcae.