Football. The Ultimate ‘F’ Word in a sport full of them.
- Free (agent): The biggest ‘F’ word in the game. In all of sports, in fact. Free agency is so important it usually lasts all of 27 minutes before all the names of any importance are snatched up. And for big bucks, many more than they are worth. (Hi, Mike Glennon).
- (1A actually): “Free” as in free; wide open free; hit me free; I’m so free I was just granted a presidential pardon. But do the quarterbacks ever find them (Hi, Mike Glennon—no wonder you were—ahem—available). Also related to 1B: running free, as in free space when a receiver catches the ball and has more room to run and gain yardage than the length of the pass he just caught. And, almost forgot (1C): ‘free’ safety. The guy who runs around and never gets blamed for anything because he’s free. So nobody knows what his assignment was on the play. Blaming him doesn’t work, so he gets a—wait for it—free pass on the play while the corner he was supposed to help got burned for a 78-yard TD.
- Forward, as in ‘going forward.’ Or, the new catch phrase in all sports analysts’ conversations. “Going forward” he will make a huge contribution to the this team’s weak receiving corps. Or going forward, he could make an impact in replacing the guy they just lost at safety in free agency. Also can be applied to ‘F’ word—forward progress, which is completely subjective and very often not marked properly.
- Fire, as in “On fire.” Another catch phrase for when everything a quarterback throws up gets caught by a receiver who just sticks a free hand up into the air and somehow, mysteriously, miraculously catches the ball. My favorite use is when a pass falls incomplete and the announcers say he couldn’t make the catch because the defensive back tied up his free hand. Well if it was tied up, it wasn’t free, was it?
- First, as in first-round and all its iterations. There’s a first-round draft pick, which Tom Brady was not. (neither was Mike Glennon nor Russell Wilson, who he pushed out at North Carolina State. Neither was Drew Brees nor… eh, long list. By the way, who’s going to be this year’s first overall pick? Myles Garrett, who will never be a free agent quarterback but will take a few. Quite a few.
- Freakin‘, as in God freakin‘ dammit, Aaron Rodgers just landed another Hail Mary.
- Ford, as in where the Lions play. Who cares about the Lions though? They are about to become the Cubs of pro football—almost every expansion team has at least qualified for the Super Bowl—they’re the only original franchise that hasn’t gotten in without tickets. Not counting the AFL merger, a half-dozen expansion teams have qualified and/or won the damn thing.
- Foot. Hey, it’s part of the name of the game, except they’re cutting down on it. They’re making it easier to kick balls out of the end zone on kickoffs—fewer returns, fewer concussions. And the two-point conversion has taught coaches (Mike Tomlin) that you don’t have to go for two after every TD, regardless of the situation.
- Field goal. Hey, they’re a decision now—go for the long one or surrender field position if you miss it from long distance. We are increasingly seeing teams punt from the other team’s 32-yard line, into the end zone, netting 12 yards. Yeah, that’s exciting.
- And, finally, Falcons. No explanation needed here. They stand for teams that choke away 25-point leads in the second half of the most important games to ever play in. They will not qualify for the Super Bowl next year—so much for all of them saying they learned what it takes to hold on and win the big one. Yeah, it takes smarts and playing not to lose, Dan Quinn. Falcons, another word for choke.
- Was going to use flankerback, but who says that anymore? It’s called “slot” receiver now, a nasty ‘S’ word. We’ll do that column going forward.
Speaking of ‘F’ words, Geno Smith and Mike Glennon are proof that quarterback is the most important position. They’re proof that it’s the most overpaid position. And that sometimes, it’s the most overrated position.
Here’s an ‘F’ word I left out: failure—as in tanking to get that top draft pick and get your—dare we say it?—franchise quarterback. Franchise. Another overrated ‘F’ word. Sorta’ like Glennon. Which is not an ‘F’ word, but should be.