Run Away and Hide, It's Time for the Trite Trophy

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), December 30, 2018 | Go to article overview

Run Away and Hide, It's Time for the Trite Trophy


Some in our cherished audience might find it unfathomable that the Trite Trophy has been around for 35 years, but all I need for confirmation is to Look In The Mirror, where the ravages delivered by three-and-half decades of cliché wrangling are mercilessly evident.

It's Not A Good Look.

For the uninitiated, bad news; you've blundered into our annual year-end ritual, the laughably quixotic attempt to cleanse the sports language of hideous clichés and other foolish constructions through abject mockery, clichés like Look In The Mirror, the ubiquitous entreaty for self examination to struggling teams and athletes everywhere, including that one case for which former Pitt coach and current Fox football analyst Dave Wannstedt said, "These guys have to look each other in the mirror."

And While You're At It, make sure you Go To School on which competitors have A Chip On Their Shoulder and which have A Monkey On Their Backs (some may have both, a monkey on their backs with a chip on its shoulder)! Others might have neither affliction, but are instead trying to Slay The Dragon. In a recent Steelers upset of the New England Patriots, players gave conflicting accounts post-game, some involving dragons and others monkeys.

I'll Have To Wait Until I See The Film.

Only then will we see who Doesn't Pass The Eye Test so many have been failing this year in Cliché Land, where others have taken The Smell Test pass/fail, but few have been exposed to The Ear Test and fewer still The Touch Test or God Forbid The Taste Test.

As you settle in for another round of cliché mania then, remember that There Is No 'I' In Team, but there is in Antonio Brown.

The worst sports cliché of 2018 will soon be hoisting the Trite Trophy live here at the Dolby Theater (as if), but There's A Lot To Unpack Here as we Check All The Boxes while we Take A Deep Dive, being wary of our Small Sample Size to determine which severely annoying example of lazy, reflexive language is truly

Knocking On The Door to Trite immortality.

Relatively fresh linguistic spasms related to football have long dominated the Trite ceremony, Fairly Or Unfairly, much in the way that the more recent films gain an advantage relative to the Academy Awards that will be delivered on this same stage Feb. 24.

Jet Sweep is a prime example, a cliché that in only a few seasons has gone from the simple act of vacuuming the interior of what just arrived at the gate as Flight 89 from Nashville to a forceful and pervasive description of handing the ball to a man in motion toward the formation.

But Jet Sweep is not going to win the Trite. It is not totally unnecessary, not ridiculously ubiquitous, and not even especially annoying. Further, I'm not even sure it's Lit. Were Jet Sweep an actual human, we'd say confidently His Arrow Is Pointing Up, that He's Answered The Bell, that He Makes Plays With His Feet, and that one day in the Not Too Distant Future he'll Find A Way To Win.

But not today.

Today Jet Sweep isn't any more worthy than Bubble Screen or Wheel Route, both of which have the potential to be Chunk Plays as part of an offense that is Putting Up Video Game Numbers, but while the Trite Committee (me) considers them Bowl Eligible, that in itself is so far from a compliment that neither could so much as sniff Trite hagiology.

Speaking of which, another staggeringly prolific year it was for the phrase that has probably replaced Red Zone as our greatest living cliché, It Is What It Is, the only two-time winner of the Trite Trophy.

This summer, while researching a column on Carolina Panthers owner and Stanton Heights native David Tepper, I came across the suggestion that it was Tepper himself who actually popularized It Is What It Is, or at least claimed to. In a subsequent conversation with the former Steelers investor and Carnegie Mellon University benefactor, Mr. Tepper did not Double Down, but didn't exactly Walk It Back either. …

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