Cabbages and Kings

A diary by the authors of the Louis Kincaid series

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Location: Fort Lauderdale/Elk Rapids, Florida and Michigan, United States

We are the New York Times bestselling authors of the Louis Kincaid series and other stand alone thrillers. We have taught writing at major conferences for ten years.

Friday, February 01, 2008

I'll take Brady and Barack and the points

Well, I'm stoked. Two days to Super Bowl Sunday! As with political affiliation, it's not wise to disclose which side I'm rooting for. Let's just say I'm in a New York state of mind. (And I ain't talking about senators here).

But speaking of politics, I was watching Hill and Barack go at it last night and I got to thinking that maybe these debates could use a couple guys in the booth to tell us what is going on down there on the dias. You know, like football guys. Bring in Al Michaels to do the play-by-play and John Madden to do color commentary. The same cliches they use in football would work really well for debates:

Al: This game is going to be won in the trenches.
John: Obama needs to play smash-mouth football.
Al: Clinton should stick with her original game plan.
John: Oh man, Obama was just blindsided! That's gonna hurt come Monday morning.
Al: Yeah he bends but he doesn't break.

I love football cliches. I have been collecting them in a little book for years now. You can't watch football -- or politics -- without a good supply of them. So in honor of Super Tuesday and Super Bowl Sunday, I am going to share my best ones with you.

Feel free to steal these as need be. I promise, even if you don't know what the hell is going on, if you toss a few of these out there, you'll impress your friends. I know I will be using them when I go to my friend Doug Delp's house to watch The Game:

They have to play ball-control offense. (well, it IS hard to score without the ball...)
They have to establish their running game. (tell that to Tom Brady)
They have to stop the big play. (as opposed to the little ones)
They have to pound it out on the ground. (or in the case of Arizona Stadium on a giant grass-filled retractable tray)
They have to take care of the football. ("nice ball..." )
They should just go out and execute. (preferably not the refs)
They have to make plays on both sides of the ball. (it's a spheroid; it doesn't have sides)

Brady has happy feet (he's worried about getting slammed on his ass so he's jumping around alot)
That pass looked like a wounded duck. (no spiral)
He'd like to have that one back. (incomplete but easy pass)
He threw up a prayer. (Ah, the stink desperation!)
Manning is trying to force the ball. (usually to the opposite team)
Brady has all day back there. (Or an eternity.)
Great touch on that pass. (this one HAD a spiral)
Brady hit him right on the numbers. (the guy should've caught it)
Manning threw a strike. (He DID catch this one)
That pass was right on the money. (Even I could have caught that!)
They flushed Manning from the pocket. (But he ran out on very happy feet)

They can't cough it up here. (fumble the pigskin)
He bulls his way for extra yardage (defense sucks)
They're running it right up the gut. (defense really sucks)
He's a bruising running back. (steroid user)
He's overdue to break one. (he's been sucky til now)
He couldn't turn the corner. (defense ran him down before he could reach the gut)
He needs to run more north and south. (and thus turn the corner)
You could have driven a truck through that hole. (fat guys up front are doing their job well)
He'll be buying dinner for the whole offensive line after this game.
(Which is partly why the guys up front are fat)


He's got alligator arms (weanie didn't extend out for the catch)
That was a circus catch. (probably of a wounded duck)
That was a timing pattern. (no one really knows what this is but it sounds sweet)
He heard footsteps. (was afraid of getting his head torn off so he missed the catch)
He ran out of real estate (couldn't keep both feet in bounds)
They pay him to make those catches. (Randy Moss)
That looked like a blown coverage. (Randy Moss)
He had him covered like a blanket. (What Sam Madison probably won't do to Randy Moss)

They're going to call a timeout to ice the kicker. (Nah nah nah nah nah!)
This should be a chip shot for him. (tell that to the Buffalo Bills)
That kick splits the uprights. (goes right down the middle)
That missed extra point will come back to haunt them. (my favorite!)

That was a game saving tackle. (which it never turns out to be)
That was a shoestring tackle. (the bugger almost got away)
The defense had that play sniffed out. (offensive coordinator caught napping)
The defensive line is quick off the ball. (they aren't as fat as most linemen)
The defense is starting to assert itself. (thus winning the battle of the trenches)
They're going to tee-off on Brady. (and try to dirty up his purty uniform)
That hit really cleaned his clock. (don't you love American idioms?)
He really got his bell rung there. (concussion)
He put the lumber on him. (Hard hit but beats me what it really means!)
That front line is 1000 pounds of beef. (and if you are playing a 3-4 that means really big lard-butts!)

You can see the frustration starting to set in. (one side is losing badly)
Looks like we've got some extra-curricular activity on the field. (a fight!)
We hope that cooler heads prevail. (who are they kidding!)
They have a few choice words for each other. (some helmet-butting going on)
They're just exchanging pleasantries. (if you listen hard, the mikes pick up the obscenities)

Welcome to the NFL. (Said after a rookie is tackled or hit during his first game)
He was really clothes-lined there. (a forearm to the neck. Ouch...)
He ran into a brick wall. (a guy bigger than him)
He's slow getting up. (because he got his clock cleaned or bell rung)
Looks like we've got a player shaken up. (you try getting hit by a 280-lb mad man)
We hate to speculate on the injury...(but we will anyway).
They can ill-afford to lose him. (especially if he's named Brady)
Their locker room must look like a MASH unit. (and that's just the refs)
He left the field under his own power. (unless it's a cart)

They're trying to milk the clock (they're ahead and trying to stall)
They're looking at third down and forever. (they're behind and desperate)
They're in four down territory. (they're behind, desperate and down to their last bullet)
It all depends on where they spot the ball. (and wherever it is, someone will be pissed)
They're marching down the field. (defense is sucking air)
This is their deepest penetration. (finally, they are inside the 20!)
They're knocking on the door. (near the goal line)
They've got to punch it in here. (you can only knock so long...)
You really want to come away with some points when you're this close (Hello, Chargers!)
They've got to take it to the big house. (get a touchdown BECAUSE....)

There is no tomorrow.

Have a good Sunday!



Blogger Mark Terry said...

We really don't speak football in our house. We have much more of a baseball vocabulary: "Some days you win, some days you lose, and some days it rains."

My sons told us Saturday that they didn't "get" football, why was everybody so excited about it?

I suggested that the NFL and TV have done their best to make it something it's not by showing dramatic clips in Super Slo-Mo, with quick cuts and dramatic music, trying to make a game seem more like mortal combat.

If you were, for instance, to intercut scenes from typical NFL coverage with say, The Battle of Helm's Deep from The Lord of the Rings (the second movie), I suspect they would be damn near interchangeable, right down to the ugly guys with even uglier helmets.

9:34 AM  
Blogger PJ Parrish said...

LOL Mark,
It has been suggested that the NFL is this country's only acceptable substitute for street fighting, a positive way to channel all that testosterone. Kind of like that cheesy old James Caan movie "Rollerball."

If the world ever gets to the point where the only blood spilled is on astroturf, I would be quite okay with that.

11:20 AM  

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