Something disturbing is happening in the world of sports. All these terms are popping up that make absolutely no sense. Granted, when Keith Olbermann started saying “he puts the biscuit in the basket” and Kenny Mayne rolled out “bring me your finest meats and cheeses,” those were sort of silly, too. But they were also whimsical and clever and we wanted to repeat them. These days, in an age of hyper-analysis spewed by way too many talking heads, we’re facing a self-serious, ear-abusing epidemic of expressions that are both pointless and not funny. So, in the interest of dooming them to extinction, we urge you—and that includes you, Ron Jaworski—never to repeat the following…
1. “Score the basketball.”
Come on, NBA analysts. Just say “score.” We know you’re talking about the basketball. The game is called basketball. They’re playing with a basketball. It’s the only object they can score with. It’s not like there are six or seven other balls out there, and you get different points for scoring with different balls. That actually would be kind of interesting. “Oh, look, Lebron opted to score the basketball. Now, he picks up the volleyball. Now he scores the volleyball. Nine points for Lebron!”
2. “Overtime favors the better team.”
We’ve heard this one a few times lately. And each time it’s like, “What?!?” So overtime favors the better team, huh? You know what else favors the better team? Regular time. So that’s not exactly super insightful.
3. “The quarterback position.”
As in, “Peyton Manning really knows how to play the quarterback position.” Jaworski says this all the time, and it’s so unnecessary. It’s the quarterback, Jaws. Just say “quarterback.”
4. “Catch the ball at its highest point.”
You hear this one a lot during football games. A receiver is supposed to jump up and catch the ball “at its highest point.” But let’s say a receiver is thrown a 30-yard pass. The ball’s highest point might be about 25 feet in the air. And it would occur about halfway between the quarterback and the receiver. You don’t need a Ph.D. in physics to understand this.
5. “On the bubble.”
Where did this come from? What bubble are people talking about? We don’t understand what this is referring to. What real-life scenario has you on a bubble? We get that you’re in between two places. You’re like in limbo, you’re in the doorway. But have you ever been in between two places, and on a bubble? Next time it comes up, Rece Davis, please explain.
6. “Extend the play.”
Nowadays, quarterbacks run around behind the line of scrimmage to “extend the play.” Remember when that was just called “scrambling”? Nothing like turning one word into three, huh, ESPN talking heads?
7. “Stretch the field vertically.”
Even worse, because we can say the exact same thing in five fewer syllables. “Go deep.”
8. “Dial up some pressure.”
Jesus. You mean blitz?
9. “Get out in transition.”
Translation: fast break. Or even: push the ball. Or: play fast. But no, today it’s gotta be the term “get out in transition.” Combined with the previous three, we’re starting to wonder if commentators get paid by the word.
10. “It was always going high.”
This is a phrase used by English soccer announcers when a player shoots a ball and it sails over the crossbar. But assuming the ball was under eight feet off the ground when he made contact, at some point it had a chance of not going high. Right?
11. “Clock it.”
LSU coach Les Miles was the first person we heard use this expression, which essentially means “spike the ball to stop the clock.” Why he couldn’t just say “spike it,” why he had to turn clock into a verb, is beyond us. Considering his fondness for nibbling the field, we’re surprised Les didn’t just go with “grass it.”
12. “Body of work.”
Hey Andy Katz/Jay Bilas/NCAA Tournament Committee: it’s a record. It’s called a record. It’s whom you’ve played and how you’ve done against them. That’s called a record. We’re not discussing the films of David Fincher here. It’s a basketball team.
13. “Walk-off homerun.”
Last time we checked, nobody on the winning team walks off during a walk-off homerun. Normally, they sort of jog while pumping a fist. Can’t we just say game-ending home run, like real men in the ’70s and ’80s did?
14. “Manage the game.”
A B.S. term that rose to popularity around the time Trent Dilfer quarterbacked the Ravens to a Super Bowl in 2001. It essentially means: don’t screw up. Don’t turn the ball over. Don’t hurt us. Don’t suck. Anytime someone says “manage the game,” there should be a voiceover that says “don’t screw up too bad.” Like, in the locker room before that Super Bowl, if someone told Dilfer to manage the game, what they really meant was, “Hey, Trent… just don’t be terrible.”
15. “That’s the kind of thing that won’t show up on a stat sheet.”
More often than not, this statement is false. A basketball player takes a charge, and some windbag raves, “That’s the kind of thing that won’t show up on a stat sheet.” Uh, yes, it will. It was a charge. It’ll show up. Somebody keeps track of that.
Alert to all sports announcers: it is now officially time to go back to using “trickery.” We’re not sure who the last person to sound funny saying “trickeration” was, but it definitely wasn’t you.
Did we leave out a dumb sports phrase you hate? Feel free to share in the comments section.