Why the Super Bowl won’t sell in Capetown, Melbourne or Dublin

Here’s one last dig at the Super Bowl, after looking at the ads and not finding much to praise.

American football in general, and the Super Bowl in particular, provokes US sports writers to use incomprehensible, fenced-in language. It’s a gang thing: read this, get it, use the same words and you’re in! Didn’t get it? Clearly, you’re an outsider.

Attention all writers: think twice before you use what you believe is chatty, catchy language, and this includes sports jargon. It’s likely that anyone on the other side of your cultural fence will ignore or be irritated by you and whatever you’re writing about. I live with sports addicts but one sport they won’t watch is American football. They’re not American, but that doesn’t keep them from most sports. With football, it’s a language thing (also, it stops too often):

“Kurt Warner was hit by LaMarr Woodley and fumbled the ball as he tried to throw a hail mary in the end zone. While the Cardinals argued Warner was throwing the ball it was clear Woodley caught him before his arm went forward. The Steelers took the “Victory Formation” for the last play of the game” (Sports Illustrated/CNN)

“Roethlisberger, who was 21 for 30 for 256 yards with one TD and one interception, directed a 78-yard drive after the kickoff, which actually started with a 10-yard holding penalty against Chris Kemoeatu. The Steelers quarterback found Holmes on a big play of 39 yards in which the speedy receiver got away from slipping safety Aaron Francisco and raced to the Cardinals’ 6.

“Two snaps later, Roethlisberger launched one to the right corner, where Holmes made the catch, got both feet down before falling out of the field of play.” (Arizona Star)
“The Immaculate Reception always will be the most important play in Pittsburgh Steelers history because it signifies the franchise’s exit from decades of mediocrity. But Santonio Holmes’ toe-tap in the back corner of the end zone at Raymond James Stadium and the longest 18 seconds in Super Bowl history will have special places in Steelers lore.” Chicago Sun-Times
In fairness to American football, I sport I grew up with and like, cricket writers can be really obscure.


  1. Dave says:

    From Sydney Australia, watching the superbowl was great