Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Football Quixotica

Professional football is filled with arcane words and phrases. Read a sports story, watch an NFL game on tv or just look at the play calls on Madden 2008 and you’re bound to find a lexicon that is as distinctive as any other professional sport.

As fans gear up for an exciting round of playoffs, I propose we christen the NFL’s second season with some fresh words to add to our football vocabulary.

The Dead Zone: Pinning your opponent inside his own five-yard line

XP Calculus: The algorithm used by NFL coaching staffs to decide whether it is an optimal to attempt a two-point conversion or go for an extra point.

Can-pan: a blatant cheerleader cleavage shot done by some randy network cameraman

War Sheet: laminated sheet used by sideline coaches to call plays during the game
Pigskin prayer circle: The impromptu phalanx of players that gather for prayer and reflection after the conclusion of each NFL game

Flag-chucking (-er): The melodramatic, emphatic toss of a red challenge flag by a head coach after a particularly questionable call

Mistrickeration: An extremely poorly designed and executed gadget play

Slipsnap: A snapped ball that inadvertently goes over the head of a punter or kicker, usually resulting in a safety, change of possession or the complete embarrassment for the punter as he tries to recover with the ball

Footernity: The unspoken bond between kickers and punters

Expatriate: a former New England assistant coach who has gone on to a head coaching gig in the college or pro ranks

Prattle tales: The idle, inane anecdotes shared by play-by-play announcers and color commentators during “dead spots’ of a particularly lopsided or boring game

The Gibbs Effect: The religious-like stature HOF Coach Joe Gibbs has among Redskins faithful

Salisbury Stakes: Frequent guarantees or ultra-assertive statements by ESPN studio analyst Sean Salisbury

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