Discussing Football and Pet Peeves


One of the things that bugs me most about football discussion or analysis is the idea that one statistical category ranks an offense or defense overall. We shouldn't allow ourselves to be so stupid.

As I was listening to a local morning sports show today, the hosts began using one of those phrases that digs into my soul and just starts peeling away.

It's the feeling of nails on a chalkboard, or the voice of annoying kid that gets stuck in your head as he repeats his entitled, unaware-of-how-awesome-modern-life-is mantrawhine, "I WANT MORE, I WANT MORE, I WANT..."

Shut up, Stillwell.

It's a phrase that I read (and hear, obviously) a lot, and it needs to stop. It's ambivalent, ignorant and lazy. I don't mean those in a positive sense, although I'm not sure that's even possible (unless we're talking about basset hounds, in which case they're phenomenally positive traits).

It's the "this offense/defense ranked Xth" phrase, and I hate it. With all of my me. I hate it because it's confusing (ranked in what? There are a lot of statistics, and you're assuming I know which one you're referring to), easily fixable (the statistical category you're referring to? SAY IT.) and innately dismissive (ranking an offense or defense in a category and assigning that overall value minimizes whatever value exists in other categories which is subjective and myopic).

For the most part, I assume most people are talking about total yards when they use that phrase.

For example...

BEFORE MY CRUSADE TO END THIS PRACTICE: "The New England Patriots had the top-ranked offense last year."

AFTER APPLYING LIFEHACK: "The New England Patriots had the top-ranked offense last year in total yards."

Ahhhhhhh. It's like chicken soup for my stubborn soul.

Personally, until we get to the latter, I'll just use random stats and apply the former.

Me: "The Cardinals had the top-ranked offense last year."

Anybody who watched football last year: "What?"

Me: "Yup. Little known stat. They were first."

Anybody: "In what?"

Me: "Oh, in 3rd down snaps. What did you think I was talking about? You must not discuss football much."

There are idiosyncrasies of some of the pundits or commentators I can deal with that others can't. I can't help but chuckle at Gruden's "this guy", but it's just about out of steam. Musberger's "You are looking live..."? Still love it.

What's your pet peeve? Is it something a play-by-play man or commentator does?

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