The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

“The Quarterback Position”

Posted by disappointmentzone on 20 November 2007

Quick question: When did it become popular to say “the quarterback position”?

More important question: Is there ever a justifiable excuse for saying “the quarterback position”?

Answer Q1: Beats me.

Answer Q2: No.

I find this the most absolutely unnecessary and frustrating feature of all NFL talk today. Did coaches and announcers and analysts huddle up and decide that since they’re now referring to injuries by the body part — he’s out with a knee — that they’d take the extra information they’re saving there and add it to talking about quarterbacks?

Here is one example. During Monday’s press conference Ravens coach Brian Billick was talking about preparing his team for adversity during the season, including “a change at the quarterback position.”

Why not say a change at quarterback? What is the utility of the word position here? It’s completely redundant! Is there ever a time when the meaning of quarterback is not at least implicitly tied to the concept of a position?

Answer: No.

A quarterback is above all else a position. The American Heritage Dictionary defines quarterback as “a player positioned behind the center who directs a team’s offensive play.” The word position is right there in the definition! That’s the A1 definition of position (i.e., location). But the 3rd definition of position is also implicit whenever we discuss quarterbacks (i.e., situation or circumstance that affects one’s power to act). Hell, why else does the NFL restrict which uniform numbers a quarterback can wear?

I’m going to start collecting unnecessary uses of the phrase ‘quarterback position’ and keep a running tally on a page here at the DZ. My prediction is that Shannon Sharp uses this phrase the most, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Steve Young is right there with him. Any help with this effort will be much appreciated.

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10 Responses to ““The Quarterback Position””

  1. RockKing said

    Why does Bob Davie insist on saying “football game” a million times when doing college games? We’re watching, Bob…..we know the game they’re playing is football.

    “If the Hurricanes want to win this football game, they’re going to have to get better play out of the quarterback position.”

    Argh!!

  2. Good one. Bob Davie is a train wreck sometimes. After BC beat Clemson last Saturday he said that it was a great win for Clemson…which probably goes a long way to explain why he got fired from Notre Dame.

    For incessant over-specifying Steven A Smith has to be in the discussion, too. It takes him thirteen words to say what it takes normal people to say in two words. Dude has a thesaurus fetish.

  3. Ken said

    This discussion would be lacking if it didn’t include Ron Jaworski. Everyone who praises Jaws for his shrewd breakdown of the on-field action is right; I just can’t bear to listen to the guy. Everything he says is filtered through such a bizarre, practiced inflection, and he always uses the longest noun he can find (the next time he abbreviates “NFL” will be his first).

    Kornheiser, during “5 Good Minutes”: “Are the Jaguars for real?”

    Jaws: “Absolutely! I believe the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS are a genuine conTENder to WIN the AMERIcan Football Conference South DivISion! When you combine the FOOTBALL smarts of Quarterback David GARRARD with PUNISHing FRONT seven play from your DEfense, you have a combination that is sure to generate WINS in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE.”

    Blurrgh.

  4. RockKing said

    Hahaha, I always think Jaws sounds like he’s doing an infommercial. I somehow feel like I should buy something from him everytime I listen to him break down a game. He’s a smart dude, though, and I learn a lot from watching his gametape breakdowns….but you’re right, his inflection needs to be included on this list.

  5. Steven A Smith, talking about food….

    “THIS IS STEVEN AS SMITH COMING AT YOU FROM THE NEW YORK CITY HEADQUARTERS OF THE SENSATIONAL, STUNNING AND ALTOGETHER STUPENDOUS ESPN SPORTS NEWS NETWORK AND BOY DO I HAVE A TREAT FOR YOU TODAY. NOW… ALLOW ME TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT ONE OF MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE PLEASURES IN ALL THE WORLD, TTTHHHATTTT’S RIGHT, YOU GUESSED IT, FENNEL SALAD. THE DISH IS AB-SO-LUTE-LY PHENOM-EN-AL, PEOPLE. WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT IT? FENNEL SALAD IS A MONUMENT AND TESTAMENT TO THE DELECTABLE CULINARY ARTS OF OUR FOREFATHERS AND THERE IS NOTHING — NOTHING! — BETTER. THE QUALITY OF THIS PARTICULAR APPETIZER IS UNSURPASSED BY ANYTHING YOU WILL EVER HAVE THE PLEASURE OF TASTING WITH YOUR OWN MOUTH. NOW, I WANT TO TELL YOU THAT I HAD THE PARTICULAR PLEASURE OF INGESTING SUCH A SALAD JUST THE OTHER NIGHT AND IT WAS, QUITE FRANKLY, AMAZING. THE CHEF WAS CLEARLY ON TOP OF HIS GAME, SPARING NO EXPENSE AND GOING THE EXTRA MILE TO ENSURE THAT EVERYONE’S INDIVIDUAL DESIRES AND DREAMS AND URGES WERE SATIATED BY HIS LUSCIOUS AND TASTY SALAD. THE FENNEL? EXTRAORDINARY. THE OLIVE OIL? OUT OF THIS WORLD. ALL ASPECTS OF THIS PARTICULAR SALAD WERE, QUITE FRANKLY, DIVINE. MY ONLY WISH IS THAT THE MEAL DID NOT HAVE TO COME TO AN END. PEOPLE! TRY THIS SALAD.”

  6. tHIS SUCKS MR.DODO

  7. enfermedades…

    “The Quarterback Position” « The Disappointment Zone…

  8. Bill said

    I completely agree, it’s ridiculous to use the phrase “at the xxx position”. Totally redundant. Worse than that is the horrendous overuse of the word “football”. Bob Davie is awful, Andre Ware is worse, but Jesse Palmer is the worst. I’ve heard these guys use “football” multiple times in one sentence, such as “throw the football down the football field for this football team.” When did this become fashionable? I don’t recall this happening 10 years ago. It just sounds utterly ridiculous. Don’t the producers notice, and why don’t they tell these announcers to stop. Also, I’ve noticed announcers won’t use “chance” anymore, it’s always “opportunity.” As in “they have an opportunity to tie the game”. Why not just say they have a chance to tie the game. I guess they feel smarter using a five syllable word when one will suffice.

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