Football Terminology Has Changed Drastically In Twenty Years



In the past few weeks, I have noticed those who announce football games on television have a few words that they now have to use every game.  Some of it is annoying, some of it is trendy, and most of it is unnecessary.  Ten years ago, Will, Mike, and Sam were the beginning of a good joke about three friends who went into a bar or something.  Even the names of linebackers have changed.

1.  Probably the one dumb thing a television announcer says at all levels is, “The defense has been on the field a really long time, they are obviously wearing down.”   Last time I checked, the tired defense was playing against an offense who has been on the field just as long.  Do offensive players have superhuman powers that protect them from fatigue?  I do not see coaches at any of these levels rotating linemen on either side of the ball, so they must be tired too?

2.  “Adversity”.  Any game you seem to be watching, whether it be an injured player, a bad run of plays, an injury, or anything that is going on in the team that is losing the game’s world – adversity is the buzzword that gets thrown around the most.  There is a time and a place for this word to be used.  If a quarterback has a parent unfortunately pass away and they are inspired to play the following week, they are trying to overcome the adversity in their life to contribute to the team effort.  However, adversity is used in much less serious circumstances and almost used as a crutch for any broadcaster to describe why a team is losing a game sometimes.

3.  “The Edge”.  I think Jon Gruden talked about the edge 40 or so times on Monday Night’s Washington vs Dallas game.  For years, it was understood that when a team ran a sweep, (not a jet sweep) that they were trying to get to the outside.  The outside was easy to understand as the area between the last up player on the line and the sideline.  Now that area is referred to as the edge, and it drives me nuts that it is said almost every play of every game by whomever is commentating.

These are just a few examples of how buzz terminology is transforming what we hear when we watch these games.  Remember the experiment when the games were broadcast without announcers?  I am all for  a second helping of that.

One Response to “Football Terminology Has Changed Drastically In Twenty Years”

  • Andy Panici:

    I think Gruden has to remind his listeners that he used to be a coach to sound cool so he uses a lot of football terminology during the broadcast. What doesn’t help is when tv viewers hear all the pre-snap assignments, adjustments, and audibles that the QB and lineman yell and then Gruden feels obligated to “teach” everyone about football.

    A term that’s thrown around a lot now is the “spread option” offense…will it stick around? Or will it die out like the “wildcat” formation?

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