Sunday, February 05, 2006

Super Bowl Jargon.

Tonight there is the most watched television event of the year, an icon of Americana : the 40th Super Bowl (usually written Super Bowl XL).
The Seahawks (Seattle) and the Steelers (Pittsburg) will face each other in Mowtown (Detroit). Knowing the rules of (American) football may not be enough though - you also need to know the proper jargon. In the world of football, 'press coverage' has nothing to do with the media, a 'lockdown corner can be set for a corner blitz', and 'Sam, Mike and Will' are not the names of the players, a 'Hail Mary' is not about Catholicism and has been secularised into 'a deep post' anyway which is very different from 'a skinny post' and has nothing to do with blogging, a 'pistol offense' does not involving killing but calls for 'a shorter shotgun' snap. Finally, if you understand how you can 'be behind by two' while being 'within 3', you can definitely master the game and found your 'point of attack'.
No wonder why the rest of the world doesn't get it!
This is actually less trivial than it seems at first glance - sports metaphors are widely used in American speech, especially in politics and they even help understand the way Americans think. (Remember the "three strikes laws?) For a better (and useful) understanding of those terms, read William Safire's great article in the NYTimes.

PS: I have read somewhere that Seattle is the underdog... but what do I know...


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