35 Most Overused Expressions in Sports

Ed NoveloCorrespondent IIIAugust 17, 2011

35 Most Overused Expressions in Sports

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    There are thousands of sports expressions, each more tired than the last—yet we hear them on a regular basis, and each time we cringe.

    Sadly, if you've heard one sports analyst or interview, you've heard them all, as their comments are a hodgepodge of clichés—and it gets tiresome.

    But hey, they pay athletes to play sports, not give speeches. Now, as far as those analysts go, I guess they just have to hire better talent.

    And not Emmitt Smith, ever again.

    The following are my top 35 Most Overused Expressions in Sports, so feel free to let me know which expressions irk you the most.


35. The Batman/Robin Analogy

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    What it means: There are two exceptional players on a team, and since we must determine which is better, one is named Batman and the other Robin, establishing a clear hierarchy.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    We heard this one a lot lately when Terrell Owens joined the Bengals and Chad Ochocinco, and again when LeBron James joined Dwyane Wade and the Heat.

    It's an obvious and overused analogy, and considering there are a lot of hero/sidekick duos in the world, I wish they would try switching it up.

    How about, "So is he the red guy or the blue guy from Double Dragon?"

    For the record, the red guy's the better guy.


    Pictured: The Double Dragon analogy.

34. They Got the Blueprint

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    What it means: A seemingly unstoppable team has just been defeated, and the strategy used to do so can now be considered the "blueprint."


    Why I'm sick of it!

    The problem is that the "blueprint" is always so obvious.

    You'll hear in football, "The blueprint to defeating this team is you got to get to the quarterback." Really? You think so? I thought quarterbacks were at their worst when given a lot of time to throw.

    There's no magical blueprint to defeating a team.


    Pictured: The way to beat every team.

33. He's a Football Player!

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    What it means: A particular player was very impressive on the field, displaying all the qualities that make a football player great.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    No sh*% he's a football player; that's why he's wearing the uniform!

    If I were an announcer and I heard one of my colleagues say this, I'd lean over and punch them. It would probably be Emmitt Smith.

    Then I would apologize, because I love Emmitt Smith. But it had to be done.


    Pictured: A football player, I think.

32. They Were Just the Better Team Today/They Wanted It More

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    What it means: Losing hurts, but there's no shame in losing to a better team.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    After a tough loss, there are a lot of emotions and thoughts running through a player's head, so I understand that it might be a bit hard to convey those feelings.

    But could you please try?


    Pictured: A sissy, losing to a better team.

31. I'm a Soldier!/This Is War

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    What it means: You've confused your sport with actual armed combat; your toughness is unmatched.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    I know that when a player says this, they don't mean literally—maybe some do, but who knows—so I'm not going to blast them for comparing themselves to real-life soldiers who sometimes die.

    But it does show a lack of perspective. It's just a sport, and you should be happy playing it for a living. Believe me, I'd rather be getting paid millions for tackling someone than writing.


    Video: Kellen Winslow's a soldier.

30. We Gotta Play Our Game, Anything Involving "Execute"

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    What it means: A team's particular brand of game is special, and if they just stick to what they do best, there's no stopping them; they just have to execute.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    If I had a quarter for every time I heard a basketball player say the word "execute"—especially you, Kobe Bryant—I could buy the New York Knicks.

    Then I'd sell them.


    Pictured: Kobe Bryant "executing."

29. Take My Talents...

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    What it means: To take one's physical abilities somewhere, especially if you're LeBron James.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    The phrase has been around for a little over a year, but in that time it's been said a trillion times, and each time I heard it a bit of my soul died.

    Luckily, my soul is made up of a trillion and one pieces, or I would be screwed.

    Please, no more with this one—and that goes for everyone.


    Pictured: A jackass.

28. Anything Involving "Physicality"

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    What it means: A physical aspect or quality

    Why I'm sick of it!

    The first time I heard this word, I was certain that it was made up. Then I looked it up and saw the horrible truth. I immediately ripped the page out and ate it.

    Is it so hard to just say that a player is physical?


    Pictured: Physicality at its peak.

27. Anything with "-Gate"

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    What it means: You have no creativity whatsoever, and to sound clever you put "-gate" after any and all controversies. God hates you.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    Every time I try to think of a way to explain how much this irritates me, I pass out because my brain is working so hard to put it into words. And I'm tired of passing out.

    I may also have epilepsy.


    Pictured: An overblown controversy.

26. He Came to Play

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    What it means: You're especially focused on the task at hand, apparently more so than usual; you literally came to play a game.

    Why I'm sick of it! 

    I certainly hope he came to play, or else why are you paying him?

    This is a painfully stupid observation, and any commentator who says it should be immediately slapped and fired.


    Pictured: A guy who came to play.

25. They Couldn't Have Written a Better Script

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    What it means: The game is so exciting and unpredictable that no human mind could have possibly concocted a better story.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    It's a load of crap! Give me a few beers and we'll see about that.

    What's worse, they say this after a game-winning drive that is exactly the same as many other game-winning drives.

    He hit a shot at the buzzer?! No way, I've never seen that before. If only Hollywood would take notes...


    Pictured: Hollywood failing.

24. The "Trap Game"

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    What it means: You're coming off a major victory, and your next opponent is a team you should easily defeat, but you're still so ecstatic over the last game that you overlook them.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    Anytime a team just had a big victory, I hear about the trap game. They debate all week about how that team is going to have a letdown and overlook its next opponent.

    And every time I think, "How could they? You guys haven't shut up about it all week!" You know these athletes watch ESPN.


    Pictured: Succumbing to the trap—he should have seen it coming.

23. Cinderella Team

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    What it means: By day you're a bunch of malnourished girls who scrub floors and stink of ass. By night you're a team that nobody believed in but still succeeded beyond all expectations.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    If you took a shot of liquor every time you heard this term during March Madness, you'll have died of alcohol poisoning in 15 minutes.

    Try it, but B/R won't be responsible for your death—I don't think so, at least.

    Don't try it.


    Pictured: Cinderella in gym shorts.

22. He's Putting on a Clinic

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    What it means: A player is executing exceptionally well, and it's almost as if he or she is giving a demonstration; some would say it's a "clinic."

    Why I'm sick of it!

    I actually like this saying. It's just overused.


    Pictured: Michael Phelps putting on a smoking clinic.

21. You Are What Your Record Says You Are

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    What it means: It doesn't matter how good you think you are; your record is what truly defines you.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    Well, yeah. I suppose so. Thanks for the talk, Coach.   


    Pictured: Something very, very sad.

20. They Can Only Hope to Contain Him

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    What it means: There's an extraordinary athlete playing whose talents are beyond what any defense can stop; at best, you can "contain" him.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    Yes, he's some kind of unstoppable force that must be placed within some kind of special container, or else we must all feel his wrath!

    Who let LeBron loose on the city?!


    Pictured: Attempts to contain Adrian Peterson, who can't be contained.

19. Not to Take Away from Them, But...

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    Note: This could also be, "Gotta give them all the credit in the world, but..."

    What it means: You just lost the game, and to show you're not a poor sport, you give the other team credit; then, you immediately take it back. You're passive-aggressive.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    I understand your ego makes you want to explain why you failed to lessen the pain, but if you're going to give credit, give credit—and that's all.

    This is the cousin of the backhanded compliment.


    Pictured: What they really mean.

18. Carrying the Team on His Back (Sometimes "Literally")

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    What it means: Your team sucks so much that you have to do everything for it to achieve victory. It's as if you're "carrying" it to victory.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    It's worse when they add "literally," because that's just not happening; I would love to see that, though.

    The following people can "literally" carry their team on their back: Shaquille O'Neal...yeah, just Shaq.


    Pictured: What happens when you "literally" try.

17. They Left It All out on the Field/Court

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    What it means: A team/player did all they could to achieve victory, leaving all they had to give mentally and physically "out on the field."

    Why I'm sick of it!

    I didn't always hate this saying, but I do now. If you hear something enough times, that'll happen, just like every Green Day song ever.


    Pictured: Leaving it all out on the field.

16. We Wanted to Make a Statement

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    What it means: A team wants to announce itself to the world in a big way, likely through a convincing victory.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    It's usually said after the fact. It's easy to say you wanted to make a "statement" after a victory.

    I only give credit when players say before the game that they're specifically out to make a statement; otherwise, you're the guy who slipped on a banana and accidentally knocked out a would-be robber.

    No, you did not mean to do that. And yes, it was awesome.


    Pictured: Shawn Marion making a statement.

15. We Brought Our A-Game

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    What it means: Your performance was of the highest caliber today. If you were given a grade, it would be an A.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    To say this would be to admit that you often bring your F- to B-game, and that can't feel good for the guy signing your paycheck.

    Can you imagine your boss saying to you, "Good work Johnson, what's gotten into you today?" And you respond, "Well, I actually tried today, sir."

    Sure, it's the truth, but you're not supposed to say it.


    Pictured: A fan bringing his A-game.

14. First Guy in, Last Guy out

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    What it means: Your hard work and determination is recognized by your peers; you lead by example.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    It's said about the leader on any team, and every time I cringe. Sometimes I wonder if it's true. Is he really the first guy in and last guy out?

    And you know you're thinking of Tim Tebow. Not necessarily because of this, though. You're just thinking of Tim Tebow.


    Pictured: The first guy in, last guy out.

13. Giving 110 Percent

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    What it means: You give it your all, so much so that you've found a way to crack the maximum of 100 percent. You're likely a god of some kind.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    It's been said before, but you can't exactly go past 100 percent. You'll hear go-getters say this, especially in an interview.

    If you're giving the interview, please don't give them the job. You'll have to hear their clichés up till the day you fire them.  


    Pictured: Cheerleaders giving it 110 percent.

12. Take It One Game at a Time

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    What it means: Focusing on more than one thing hurts an athlete's head, so if they just take it one game at a time, the game becomes more manageable.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    I think coaches are to blame for this one.

    They don't want their players to get ahead of themselves, and they especially don't want them to say something stupid about a game that's weeks away.

    So, they tell them to say this, and it's been boring us to tears since.


    Pictured: Football philosophy, if games were steps.

11. We Got a Tough Win in a Hostile Environment

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    What it means: A team has just won a game surrounded by fans with guns and knives, and they're lucky to be alive.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    I know hostile means "unfriendly" or "antagonistic," but it's a word that is often used in regards to violence or the threat of violence. It's a strong word. If someone says, "He can be hostile at times," you're thinking danger.

    There's nothing dangerous about a sports environment. Sure, fans can hurt you with their words, but they're not going to physically harm you—well, they're not supposed to, anyway.

    Must I hear this every time a team gets a win on the road?


    Pictured: An actual hostile environment.

10. These Two Teams Don't Like Each Other

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    What it means: Two teams, likely divisional opponents, are set to play each other, and there's more hatred in the matchup than what's typical.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    It's a poor attempt at setting the scene.

    Somewhere in the world, Jon Gruden is saying this right now. I understand these two teams don't like each other, but saying it every time isn't making me any more excited to watch the game.

    Other variations include there being "bad blood" or "no love lost."


    Pictured: Sheer hatred.

9. "Superstar"

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    What it means: You're a player whose talents far exceed that of the average athlete. Your abilities are in the upper percentile of the league. 

    Why I'm sick of it!

    It's used far too often, and it just cheapens the term. It should be reserved for the best of the best, but instead, it's used when describing Chris Bosh.

    That was the day the term "superstar" died, as far as I'm concerned.


    Pictured: The look of a superstar.

8. Control Their Own Destiny

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    What it means: A player/team is in a position to make the playoffs, and whether or not they do is entirely in their hands.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    It's been said a billion times: You can't control your own destiny. It's fate; if it was meant to happen, it's going to happen—if you believe in that sort of thing.

    Fate would have no meaning if you consciously controlled it.

    Once playoff time rolls around, this phrase is mentioned in every conversation.


    Pictured: How fate works, apparently.

7. With Our Backs Against the Wall

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    What it means: A player/team is in a do or die—how's that for overused?—situation, likely in the playoffs, and losing could mean the season. With their backs against the wall, there's nowhere to go; they must confront the issue.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    You'll hear this in the playoffs after every game except the first. The minute the series is 1-0, it's backs- against-the-wall time.


    Pictured: How athletes feel sometimes.

6. It's Us Against the World

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    What it means: The entire world is conspiring against a player/team, and they would love more than anything to see them lose—those bastards.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    No, it is not you against the world.

    I know some of you athletes think a lot of yourselves, but it's a bit much to presume the world has such a grand investment in you.

    It's just you and the other team. The fans and their thoughts don't score touchdowns...or do they?


    Pictured: Tony Romo...ready to slay 1,000 poor souls.

5. Play with a Chip on Your Shoulder

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    What it means: You're an athlete, and someone has belittled your talent. Now you're angry and have something to prove.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    Who doesn't have a chip on their shoulder?

    Any player can claim this. Even if you were picked No. 1 overall in the draft, you can still say, "Well that one guy didn't believe in me."

    Every player in every sport has claimed to have a chip on their shoulder at some point in time.


    Pictured: Over-chipulation. Just think about that one for a minute.

4. We Shocked the World

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    What it means: You've just pulled off a victory so unbelievable that the world can't believe it; it's in utter shock!

    Why I'm sick of it!

    You'll hear this a lot in American sports, because we consider ourselves the world, but in reality, most of the world wasn't even watching the event.

    It's just the numbers.


    Pictured: The world.

3. This Is a Must Win

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    What it means: Today's game is especially important, and losing it could mean the season—or death! But probably just the season...unless it's soccer.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    How often do you hear a player say something is "a must win," and they lose and say it the next week? It wouldn't be so bad if the must win was actually a must win.

    In college football, any team can realistically say this every week—if they're expecting to get into a major bowl game—but aside from the playoffs, it's often just not true.


    Pictured: A real must win.

2. At the End of the Day

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    What it means: When it's all said and done; ultimately.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    You'll hear this phrase in almost every interview these days, and it's annoying considering there are other alternatives.

    At the end of the day, I wish someone would grab a thesaurus.


    Video: SportsNation's "at the end of the day" montage.

1. It Is What It Is

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    What it means: The situation can't be helped or changed; therefore, it must be accepted.

    Why I'm sick of it!

    So, it is what it is...interesting.

    This is a phrase you'll find at the top of a lot of "Most Annoying Words and Phrases" lists, and it's used largely as a cop-out to avoid explaining the situation.

    It says, "I have nothing better to say."


    Pictured: I have no freaking clue. It is what it is.

Now Let's Put Them All Together: My (Fake) Interview with Jim Gray

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    Jim: Ed, you just led the Dallas Cowboys to a Super Bowl victory, and you managed to not crap yourself. How do you feel?

    Me: First off, praise be to Djemba. Well, we left it all out on the field today. I brought my A game. They thought they had the blueprint to beat us, but at the end of the day, it is what it is.

    Jim: What the hell did you just say to me?

    Me: Look, I knew if we just played our game and took it one game at a time, we'd be just fine. I mean, I'm a football player. My physicality is impregnable. I'm Batman, they're Robin. It is what it is.

    Jim: I don't follow. 

    Me: It was us against the world, baby. But we played our game. We executed the game plan. You know, it's a war out there. I'm a soldier. I came to play.

    Jim: I hate you so much right now.

    Me: Oh, there's a lot of hate out here. It's a hostile environment. But we came in and got the win. Couldn't have written a better script.

    Jim: Your teammates say you're the first guy in and the last guy out. Any truth to that?

    Me: Well, I got to give it 110 percent, you know? We're out here to make a statement. I mean, not to take anything away from them, they played a great game, but, you know, I'll carry this team on my back when I need to. Literally.

    Jim: I really doubt that. Some called you a Cinderella team, being the No. 6 seed.

    Me: Yeah, I heard about Cinderella-gate

    Jim: —Huh?

    Me: You know it's clever. Look, we were what our record said we were, but I'm a superstar—they can't contain me. They said it would be a trap game, but we came in and shocked the world. Our backs were against the wall, but we knew it was a must win, so I put on a clinic.

    Jim: Sounds like you had a chip on your shoulder.

    Me: Yeah, these two teams don't like each other. But I'm just glad I took my talents to the Super Bowl.

    Jim: Go to hell.

    Me: You too.