ESPN Top Ten Catchphrases of All Time

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ESPN Top Ten Catchphrases of All Time
(Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images for Top Flite)

Everyone knows ESPN, and for many of us, it's been the core sports network for a very long time.  However, depending on your age, you may not remember early ESPN, showing Aussie Rules Football, D-II sporting events, and bass fishing.  

Slowly but surely, ESPN picked up viewers. . .Sunday night football recaps became a staple,  even to the point that the "real" networks started to copy the fledgling ESPN.

But, one of the key parts of the irreverent ESPN, before Keith Olbermann was a political fireplug and the "Patrick" everyone knew wasn't Danica, there was the catchphrase.

Before they became a cliched part of all highlight shows, they were a catchy, pithy remark which blended into the flow of the highlights. Something that added another layer to the replays.  

This list is based on several factors: the humor in the phrase, the timing, and the overall impact of the phrase.  Many anchors have used them, many have failed, but some have succeeded.  This article is dedicated to those purveyors of their craft who have delivered in the clutch.    

10.  "He could go all the way. . .but not today."   Even John McCain quoted this one, which shows how much it's been diluted.  But back in the day, it was a big part of ESPN Primetime.  

9. "He shoots, he scores." – an ESPN catchphrase, which crossed off of ESPN cable, onto Wayne's World, and into the pop lexicon for good.  

8. "It's never iffy, if it's Griffey" – Kenny Mayne, trying hard not to sound like a Pacific Northwest Homer, and failing.  

7. "Cool as the other side of the pillow".  The lone Stuart Scott item in the list.  It's such a great simile...or is it metaphor...regardless, it's a very poetic phrase, and much more marketable than his other now-overblown phrase "Boo-yah!"

6. "From way downtown...BANG!" - Another Olbermann standard, crossed from hoops to other sports, and again...into the hands of bad golfers trying to sound cool.  Or worse – office guys shooting the proverbial wad of paper toward the trashcan, and missing.  

5."It's deep, and I don't think it's playable." – What started as an Olbermann baseball HR call, is now used by lame duffers like myself who occasionally miss the fairway in the silly game with the little white ball.  

4. "The other team's quarterback must go down, and he must go down hahd." - a Keith Olbermann phrase, most often attributed to Al Davis, including the old man's accent. 

3. "I am amused by the simplicity of this game." - Kenny Mayne described a three-homer game by Albert Belle with this phrase.  

2. "You can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him." - A Dan Patrick staple, which has even crossed over into mocking a buddy.  In a local hoops game, your pal misses 3 of 4, and sure enough "you can only hope to contain him" comes out.  

1.  "I don't know what that pitch was, but it tastes like chicken." - a Ken Griffey home run, and another Kenny Mayne contribution.  It drew a chuckle from me, and my buddies that night.  

Well, that about does it for this list.  4 Olbermann's, 3 Mayne's, a Patrick, a Berman and a Scott.  I guess it shows that I'm a little bit old-school, a little bit down home.  If video was able to kill the radio star, some catchphrases are immortal.  

Well, I guess that concludes this list, and remember – "aloha means goodbye".

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