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Friday, August 8, 2014

NFL Football and War-Words

Because this is the first full weekend of the NFL albeit preseason, we thought we'd make today's subject about football..

And the military..

The NFL more than any of the big four professional team sports in the US (sorry Major League Soccer) goes out of its way to honor the military and the enlisted soldier..

We will assume its sincere..   Its also great business..

In fact the Super Bowl isn't even about football anymore.
Well OK, we concede it hasn't really been about football for perhaps 30 years or so when the focus altered to what the commercials would be to attract female viewers and who would play the halftime to attract non-sports fans

Now the Super Bowl is one big 'Fourth of July' in February celebrating USA! USA! with more prolonged glitz, extravagance and tackiness than anything found on the Las Vegas strip or Times Square.

The NFL has milked patriotism for profit expertly.

So much terminology you hear discussed during a NFL game is military or war-based, which we guess is to make viewers feel what they're passively watching has more meaning and Oomph! than without..
Pretty much any term or phrase is OK to inject into covering a game as long as a player or coach does not say they're going to War.

Oh you done it now!!  You offended the troops..

You can infer it..  Make run-arounds.. Imply it..  A-OK

Let's see what are some common military or war-related terms that NFL broadcast analysts and the sports media use to cover games and what the words really mean..
Blitz -  As in "The defense is showing heavy blitz and rushing the QB"

Blitz in real-life means Blitzkrieg which as Wikipedia defines it:

"A method of warfare whereby an attacking force spearheaded by a dense concentration of armored and motorized or mechanized infantry formations, and heavily backed up by close air support, forces a breakthrough into the enemy's line of defense through a series of short, fast, powerful attacks; and once in the enemy's territory, proceeds to dislocate them using speed and surprise, and then encircle them..."
Blitzkrieg also resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians including children throughout Europe from England to France to Poland and Russia

You say say 'Blitz'..  You just can't call the game a 'War'

Trenches - As in "The men in the trenches i.e. the offensive line is doing a good job protecting the QB"

Its a military reference most famous for World War I where millions of troops along the Western Front were essentially stuck in immobility for about four years living in mud and filth among vermin and lice as their ears and nerves had to endure an endless non-stop barrage of artillery fire and brief periods of poison mustard gas.
This term used to describe football doesn't seem to offend anyone because every person who ever fought in the War is now dead and most Americans haven't a clue we were even involved in it since we only fought in the last 7-8 months of it.

Shell shock  - As in "The defensive secondary look completely shell shocked as the QB could complete passes to his receivers at will"

In real life terms its part of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that troops of every war and conflict experience.

It was made popular during WWI as 'a reaction to the intensity of the bombardment and fighting that produced a helplessness appearing variously as panic and being scared, or flight, an inability to reason, sleep, walk or talk.' (Wikipedia)
During WWII and beyond, the phrase changed to 'combat stress'

If you've ever known someone returning from war who possessed even a trace of it, its truly heartbreaking..

To NFL color commentators, the word is.. well, just a word.

No Man's Land - As in "The TE caught the 5 yard pass but found himself immediately in no-man's land with no means to get to the first-down marker"

No Man's land once again is a term commonly associated with WWI..
It is the area of land between two enemy trench systems to which neither side wished to move openly or to seize due to fear of being attacked by the enemy in the process..

This area usually was full of barbed wire, mines and other detonations that would set off and blow a soldier to pieces if tripped.  Most gassings of the enemy occurred in this area as it was close enough from point of origin that its potency was the most intense when released into the air.

But if a player calls what does a 'war' or battle or calls himself a 'soldier', that's disrespecting enlisted men..

There's many other references like 'Bombs' being long throws a QB makes to a receiver, referring to a defense line as an 'interior line' and the room a team of executives sit in to decide whom their drafting called a 'War Room'
All is well and good yet like we repeatedly have mentioned, one can't call what they do on the field a 'war' because our troops are too delicate to handle it, we suppose..

There used to be a time we treated those who served in our Armed Forces like absolute trash, especially the Vietnam vet.  He was usually drafted, served because he had to more than he wanted, and took the brunt of all the extremist political hippie bullshit of the day

Then the draft was rescinded, we became all-volunteer and starting with Desert Storm, we treated every person who wore a uniform as they were Heroes even if they had no actual military involvement or even were sent overseas..
We guess its better to give every enlisted person a handshake or salute even if not warranted vs the Vietnam era where they were cursed at and spit upon..

Of course the best way to honor those who serve in our military is to not send them off in harm's way to fight endless wars without clear objectives or endgame or make them do endless tours especially after coming home and being re-acclimated to civilian life

But if that can't happen, there's always the NFL way.