Americans love to play and watch football! In Boston, we especially love our New England Patriots! The season starts in September and leads up to the Superbowl on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Since we love the sport so much, there are many football expressions that have made their way to everyday speech. Even if you do not know how to play American football, it is very useful for English learners like you to learn these expressions and how to use them. Read on to learn some of the most common expressions…
A person who second guesses or criticizes the decisions of another, like a fan who dissects the strategy of a weekend game on a Monday.
“He is a typical Monday-morning quarterback, criticizing our work on the project after we had finished our presentation.”
On the Sideline:
This is where the players who are not involved in the action during the game stand or sit because they are not playing.
“If you want to be noticed or get a promotion, you can’t just stay on the sidelines. You need to speak up and get involved.”
To drop the ball:
Outside of football, even though it sounds like it, it doesn’t actually mean a person drops a ball. It means to make a mistake, especially by doing something in a stupid or careless way; or to miss an opportunity, to fail. It also involves letting others down (disappointing someone).
“When Tommy forgot to invite Carla’s co-workers to her surprise birthday party, he really dropped the ball.”
A long-shot attempt when other attempts have failed. In football, this is when a long forward pass is thrown by a quarterback in the last seconds of a game, usually with low odds that it will be caught.
“Nothing seemed to be working and he didn’t know what to do. This last idea was a Hail Mary.”
Take the Ball and Run:
To take ownership of a task and proceed with confidence.
“Regarding leadership of the new project, I suggest you take the ball and run with it.”
Before each play, football teams typically gather in a huddle to get the play call from the quarterback. So, huddling is an expression used for any gathering together, especially to receive instructions.
“Okay class, let’s huddle; I need to explain next week’s assignment.”
Tackle a Situation or Problem:
Take on a situation or problem on aggressively, just like a football tackle
“I’ll be up all night trying to tackle this calculus equation.”
These are just a few of the football expressions we use in everyday English. Now that you have seen them, you will probably notice them a lot more. And while we are on the subject, why not watch some American football? Here’s a video to watch to learn the basic rules: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3t6hM5tRlfA