Mr. Mascot vs. Jason. Battle of Unnecessary Sports Phrases

A head-on-head weekly editorial sports debate

June 20, 2018 - 4:42 pm

Mr. Mascot is an unknown individual who works at WFNZ and Jason is a member of WFNZ's digital department. The two have a heated rivalry.


We are very close to the start of college and pro football being just 80ish days and counting. With that comes awful, awful, awful, sports clichés uttered by play-by-play commentators and head coaches alike. They use phrases or verbal crutches that are vague, open-ended and lack substance. I’d rather have a coach blow up Mike Gundy style and talk about how “I’M A MAN! I’M 40!” then say “he always gives 110%”.  These quotes are not limited to football. Coaches, players, and commentators mutter them across the nation in all sports. Now, let's jump into ten sports phrases that just need to go!


Starting from #10, here we go! 
#10  Mr. Mascot: “My hat goes off to the other team (or player)” – Coming out hot! This is typically used in a post-game press conference. If it’s a win, they are tipping their cap to the players that they just beat. Or if it’s a loss they are referencing the same thing BUT definitely mean it less. We all know the coach or player really doesn’t mean it. But, because it’s 2018, everyone has to be politically correct.

        Jason: “These two teams don’t like each other” – Okay, there are many reasons why this cannot make sense. First of all, a team is really just an organization that people work at. There is no proof that every single person on one team or within the organization doesn’t like each other. Plus the persona on teams changes all the time. We have no proof of this! 

#9  Mr. Mascot: “They have tremendous upside”- This is a phrase that pundits can use if they don’t know what they’re talking about. Normally, if they didn’t do their research they can chuck this layup of a statement at any younger or rookie player. If used by a coach it’s in reference to a young player that they ‘hope’ will improve. If you ever heard your coach say this… you’re not going to be a starter.t.

        Jason: “They’re on fire!”- Being on fire is not a good thing. It’s actually really really bad. So why is it all of a sudden a good thing when someone is playing really well and the announcer says “They’re on fire!” Fires are hot, and if you’re playing well that means your hot, but even that doesn’t make sense. 

#8  Mr. Mascot: “I’m really proud of how our team battled” -  Odds are they are not proud of how their team battled. 99% of the time this is uttered after a tough loss. The only time this phrase carries any weight is if a player says it.  That’s code for they thought their teammates played hard, they played hard BUT their coaching sucked.

        Jason:  “First guy in, last guy out” -  If they’re the first guy in and the last guy out, do they have a key and cleaning materials to make sure the building is opened up and cleaned and closed at the end of the day? I mean, we’re being literal here. They aren’t actually the first person in and out of the building if we are being honest. Also, the other teammates must really hate getting there early if the same guy gets there first every day. 

#7  Mr. Mascot: “Defense wins championships” - While this may be true to some degree; it’s a copout for non-educated coaches and commentators.  I’m sure this has been said since the beginning of sports but… it just needs to go.  You can also hear this from fans of teams that don’t score a lot (SEE: Syracuse Basketball, Seahawks Football and Hornets basketball)

        Jason: “Win or go home” - Aren’t they going to go home if they win anyway? If not, where do they go? I mean they could go to a hotel if it’s a road game. They have to get sleep somewhere. 

#6  Mr. Mascot: “Keys to the game” – If there weren’t worse phrases than this, I would have this at my true number one. The keys to the game are NEVER groundbreaking. In fact, they are normally something like: Put pressure on the QB, shoot high percentage throws, or keep the pitch count down. No sh*t! Thanks, Joe Theismann, I had no idea they need to “control their possessions.” Or you’re right Jim Nantz, “they need to minimize mistakes.” Can we just cut this out of sports, please?!

        Jason: “This is a must-win game” – I hate when reporters ask if this is a must-win game. As Herm Edwards once said, “You play to win the game!” You don’t play to lose. Maybe this game is important because it’s the playoffs, but if you decided to make one game a MUST win, then good luck in the others. 
#5  Mr. Mascot: “They overcame a lot of adversity”- This is used in two ways. Both used too much. One, it’s in reference to a game that players had to really ‘battle’ (honorable mention right there) and came out with a win. Or when a sports media group is trying to create something out of thin air. What do you mean Mr. Mascot? Well, I’ll tell you! I know a lot of players male and female come from hard areas and use sports as a way to get out of a bad situation BUT, every game, every bowl, every playoff there are countless ‘puff pieces’ about someone battling out of a bad situation. I get it. I really do. And big ups to them for getting ahead in life but every pre-game I don’t need one of these stories. Sorry… not sorry.       

       Jason: “They left it all out on the field/court”- What did they leave? Where did it go? Are they okay? If you left everything on the field then there isn’t much left to that person, right? Just another weird phrase that is overused and honestly unnecessary. 

#4  Mr. Mascot: “It is what it is” – Sadly this has bled into everyday talk. It’s a way for anyone to justify a bad situation. This is post-loss, after a player does something dumb (like stealing laptops) or if a player is injured for the season and the depth at that spot is bleak. Say what ‘it’ is! In fact, you don’t even need to say it. It’s a stopgap between sentences and it’s just white noise. So, as a nation lets just stop it!

        Jason: “This has turned into a defensive battle” –I don’t think it has turned into a defensive battle if the game 0-0 or 7-0. It just means one or both teams are really bad at scoring. Good defense can be making a big play towards the end of the game. It doesn’t mean missing 15 passes or shot attempts and making horrible mistakes on both ends of the playing field/court. 

#3  Mr. Mascot: “We are taking it one game (one play) at a time” -  We are starting to get into the phrases that rattle everyone’s cages. You can hear this at any point in a game, season, practice, halftime… you name it. Used MOSTLY by coaches suggesting that they know they have a lesser opponent two or more weeks down the line but have an easy game beforehand. The interesting thing about this is that a team/coach on top of the world or a team in the gutter will both use this terrible cliché.  We got it! The next team is a joke and you aren’t thinking about your undefeated opponent two weeks from now. You know you really are though.

        Jason: “There is no “I” in team” - This is true if we’re talking about the word. But in the actual team, there can be an “I” many times. Think about LeBron. Those players were not a team. It was literally ALL LeBron all day. Players want to take over the game and build up their own resume. As annoying as that can be, we cannot deny the facts here. 

#2  Mr. Mascot:  “110%” -  Barf. If you’ve ever been in a conference room you’ve heard this. If you’ve ever coached or played a sport you’ve heard this. If you’ve ever watched or listened to any sport you’ve heard this. It’s BAD. It means you want good effort or you gave a good effort. It’s so overused that this term is met with more eye rolls than enthusiasm.  I want you to know, if you’ve read this far you’re really giving it 100%.

        Jason: “On paper they’re the team to beat” - I hate this. Because anytime somebody says this, the team sucks. What is paper? What exactly is being written on this paper? Why not on the computer screen or saved file? We don’t know if they’re talking about stats or all-star appearances or personalities. Basically anytime someone says this, that team ends up doing horribly. 

#1  Mr. Mascot: “At the end of the day” - *Insert expletive here* The king/queen of awful sports phrases. It’s another phrase that commentators or radio/tv personalities use it as a crutch or a quote that you may have heard your boss use. It’s the worst. Most of the time it’s used, it doesn’t need to be used. And if you’re a player or coach, you are saying this after a loss. Example: “At the end of the day can’t come out flat.”

        Jason: “I just want to thank God” - Okay, I wasn’t sure I should add this on here, but bear with me. This isn’t disrespecting anyone's religion. This is just me being annoyed at how often this phrase is used. Some players need to give credit to themselves and to their team. I don’t know what God does, but I’m pretty sure he isn’t watching every single sporting event taking place and helping individual players. He has better ways to spend his time. When you lose you don't hear the player’s saying God helped them with that...


Follow Mr. Mascot on Twitter @MascotMr and Jason @_JasonHuber

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