John Madden is widely attributed with the dubious invention of the Hackneyed Sports Cliché of the Century, if there ever was one: “These teams just don’t like each other!”
Doesn’t it seem like we hear that abominable utterance at least once each game, and maybe a few more times during pre- and post-game interviews and commentary? We are lashed by it via the printed word, too. Sports journalists, have you no shame?
Are there ever any two teams, particularly engaged in mortal combat in a contact sport, who do like each other?
Even Artificially Sweetened, Jr.’s power-puff team doesn’t much like its opponent. Those junior high school girls can get into some vicious, hair-pulling fights. They just don’t like each other.
What would happen if two teams got together before their game at the 50 yard-line, sang Kumbayah, and prayed for peace, love, and understanding to Touchdown Jesus, led by Tim Tebow, setting the tone for a testosteroneless game absent pushing, nut grabbing, and trash talking? Who would watch?
“Not I!” said the blind man.
Here’s a quote from this morning’s Bleacher Report preview of tonight’s Penn State vs. Iowa game:
These teams don’t like each other and always have fun trying to knock the other out. It’s going to be a scrum for the entire 60 minutes.
This actually combines two obnoxious clichés: the no-likey and the scrum. If I wanted to watch rugby, I’d watch rugby. Frankly, most of those who write or talk about scrums haven’t seen a single rugby scrum. That doesn’t get it. If you’re going make an analogy, at least know what you’re talking about. Where the hell has originality in writing gone?
From the Detroit Free Press a couple of days ago, as a writer speculated about the forthcoming NFL tilt, the following:
The teams, the players and the cities just don’t like each other. So it was only fitting that the Lions’ last meeting with the Bears resulted in a fourth-quarter brawl and $62,500 in fines. Chicago cornerback D.J. Moore started the skirmish when he retaliated against quarterback Matthew Stafford after Stafford threw him to the ground.
Now, that’s upping the ante! Not only don’t the teams like each other, but the cities don’t much like each other, either. As I recall, there was even a threatened criminal prosecution against Moore. This might be an indication that these two teams don’t like each other. Bears and Lions seldom meet in the wild in the animal kingdom, but they sure as hell don’t like each other when they do.
Of course these two teams don’t like each other! They’re from the original “black and blue” division. They’re not supposed to like each other! They’re supposed to be out there fighting like cats and dogs. Or lions and bears. Whatever.
Back to the Bleacher Report, I spotted this gem in a preview for the forthcoming Jets-Patriots game:
It’s become a cliche to say “These two teams don’t like each other,” but these two teams just don’t like each other.
Oy, vay! So, now the writer admits the use of the hackneyed phrase is bad, but it just happens to fit the reporter’s view of the situation, so he’ll use it anyway. How’s that for a journalistic IN-YO-FACE?
One last example doesn’t even involve football. It emanates from the wonderful world of presidential politics, from a Forbes article about a recent debate between President Obama and his challenger, Mitt Romney:
Let me begin by stating what has become obvious: these two guys do not like each other at all.
Great way to start an article you want someone to actually read, by stating the obvious using a trite cliché to boot.
How about shit-canning this stale-assed cliché once and for all? Aside from its redundancy, it has no meaning and doesn’t even bring to mind anything worth bringing to mind. It gets the Official Nittany Turkey “IS” rating.
As many of you long-time readers know, IS stands for It Sucks.
Hey, Purdue actually just came back to recapture the lead from Ohio State. I better get back to watching a couple of teams that don’t like each other, so I can get to the forthcoming 3:30 games involving teams that don’t like each other.