humor, sports

Will college football championship set new record for cliches?

Alabama plays Georgia for the national college football championship Monday night in Indianapolis.

I like football, but I don’t care for the playoffs.

I miss the old bowl system.

All the important bowls — Cotton, Orange, Rose, and Sugar — were played on New Year’s Day.

If a contender lost one of the early games, then the night game suddenly became more interesting.

The sports writers decided the championship, which was fine. Writers back then could study the game rather than punchout spreadsheets full of statistics and hot takes for Twitter.

We’re stuck with the playoffs.

We’re also stuck with lousy announcing. Keith Jackson is dead. Verne Lundquist is retired, and Brent Musburger only does radio for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit are scheduled to call the championship for ESPN.

Those fellows are fine, but most sports broadcasters can’t stop rapid-fire cliché. It drives me to mute.

See how many of these words and phrases you hear during the game:

Weapons to describe quarterbacks, running backs, and receivers. Weapons break things and kill people. These people are playing a game, although they sometimes break themselves and others.

In the trenches. What is this, World War I? My apologies to the late John Madden, who used this phrase to excess, but if there’s a trench in this field, somebody should fire the groundskeeper.

Ground and pound. I think they’re talking about running the ball, but this sounds kind of gross.

Imposed their will. This sounds like a wizard put a whammy on somebody. Is Dr. Strange at the game?

Curb stomp. I doubt Chris or Kirk will let loose this one, but it bubbles up on sports radio. Curb stomping is the practice of forcing another person to put their head on a curb while someone else smashes their foot into the back of their skull. The result is serious injury and often death. It’s a favorite tactic of white supremacists. It should never be used in relation to sports. I could go the rest of my life without hearing that phrase.

Cinderella story. This won’t come up Monday, either. Georgia and Alabama are perennial contenders. Cincinnati was the Cinderella story. I’m not one to body shame, but not one player on that team would’ve fit that glass slipper, not even the punter.

That’s one the quarterback is going to want to have back after an interception. He might regret it, too, which is a lot fewer words.

No love lost between these two teams, they hate each other, revenge game, rivalry game. Someone should tell them they’re playing a game that has no significance to most of the country and get them into therapy.

Playing their best football, throws the football well, runs the football well. Why do they keep saying football? Do they think we’ll forget what kind of game is being played?

Control the narrative, flip the script. Is this a football game or an English class?

Putting on a clinic. Clinic, as in medical clinic? Oh, no. Let’s not start a vaccine debate. Just say they’re playing well.

Supporting cast, putting on a show. Wait, maybe the game is a theatrical performance.

Not their first rodeo. OK, I give up. I don’t know what the hell we’re watching.


Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for ParagraphStacker.com, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
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