Friday, February 3, 2012

Gruden's Professorial Pigskin-ese

In the months of December and January, when winter chores are done, Pete and I have always enjoyed an afternoon of football. I developed a love of football early by playing childhood pick-up games, then viewing early professional games in the 60s on a black and white television, and then as the sport grew, on to Monday Night, Thursday Night, and Sunday Night NFL games.

In recent years, when I do watch, I'm most interested in the story line of the game and listening to competent, entertaining commentators. I'll ask my husband, "Who's favored? Who's injured? Who's about ready to be fired?" and so on. And I consistently make it a point to watch when Jon Gruden, the feisty former coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is in the booth.

While watching one of his last Monday Night Football games, I began writing down the many phrases Jon uses to colorfully describe the game and the play, thinking it might make for some poetic fun. The following is what transpired after I put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard.

Gruden's Professorial Pigskin-ese

Jon paints the play with a sure and rapid fire:

You see, “The quarterback checks it down with rhythm
Looks to go vertical with a quick release
The offensive line, a road grader, moves the pile
So out of the shotgun with pocket awareness
The quarterback looks to go to the house
With his go-to-guy and a bullet on the money

But the defense reads the enemy’s mail
Loads the box, blitzes the line, and drops a house
Linebackers encroach, penetrate, and seal the edges
Safeties interrupt their routes and spear man to man
They finish through the whistle, flip the field
And then into space with an outside hitch they go all the way home

While Jon Gruden won't be in the booth on this Superbowl Sunday, I will be watching and hoping the game is a game: that whomever wins, earned it and that whomever loses, loses after playing with all their heart.

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