Sometimes it is painful being a sports fan. So many cliches, so many attempts at humor that fall flat, so many announcers hoping to be clever and carve out a signature phrase that will live forever. Perhaps the play by play guys could simply focus on describing the action and the analysts could, well, analyze. In so doing, this is a starter list of words and phrases to NEVER say again:
--'the next level' in describing the NFL. Players are not going to the next level of football; they are going to the pros, to playing for a living, even to playing on Sundays, but NOT the next level. Levels are things people encounter in video games. No one ever says the shortstop in Double-A is going to the next level; he's going to The Show. The NFL lacks its equivalent of baseball's The Show, though a couple of guys have used The League, which is a lot better than the next level.
--'elevate.' No, basketball players and some football receivers do not elevate, they jump. Just like guys run fast, not accelerate. Cars accelerate and hydraulic lifts elevate; people run and jump.
--"a buck (fill in the blank)" when referring to a player gaining more than a hundred yards, or instances of a minute and some number of seconds left to play, or an anemic batting average during a slump. The buck analogy has been done, overdone, cooked, fileted, baked, fricasseed, and grilled to a point that is the opposite of original. A buck-something means money and while some players are certainly money, they're long past the point of worrying about a buck-anything.
--the tendency to turn football into rocket surgery, and football announcers are by far the worst offenders. For all the schemes coaches devise, it remains a basic game - blocking and tackling. The team that does those two things better invariably wins. Much like baseball is about catch the ball, throw the ball, hit the ball. There are no scientific formulas being used, no atoms being split, no petrie dishes employed, not even for Gus Malzhan's offense. However, you will hear an endless cacophony of teams "disguising" pass coverages or something similar that conjures up notions of Houdini ball.
With so many games and so many announcers, everyone wants to be the next Madden or Vitale or Berman. Unfortunately, the mix tends to include too many folks who can barely speak English. Pat Summerall was as understated as could be and for good reason - he worked on television and realized it. The power of the medium is visuals; sometimes, it's best to simply be quiet and let them tell the story. Of course, expecting change is barking at the moon. But, it would be nice.