Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"The Shadow of Their Own End Zone" (1)

Cliches suck. They are usually a sign of poor or lazy writing. They also suck if they make little sense, if you botch them, or if you mix multiple cliches into one statement.

My favorite botched cliche is when a team is said to be in "the shadow of their own end zone." But end zones are a flat piece of earth; they don't really cast a shadow. What the announcer/writer means to say is "shadow of its own goalpost."

So this season, I will chronicle every botched (or simply bad) cliche I read. And we begin with Don Banks. In his SI column today, he writes:

"The Steelers could have their Super Bowl aura punctured immediately and find the deflation difficult to overcome as Cincinnati and Baltimore loom in their rear-view mirror."

Now you tell me: just what the hell does that mean? We've got balloon imagery and car imagery. But why would Pittsburgh be worried about teams looming in their rear-view mirror? Shouldn't they actually worry about the teams looming ahead? If they lose to the Dolphins, wouldn't the Dolphins be the ones looming in the rearview mirror?


  1. Anonymous9:57 AM

    That's some crappy writing, but I'm going to call one mixed metaphor. If you change the aura to a tire, then the tire deflates and the other teams lose to their rear-view mirror insofar as they're trying to catch up to them in the division.

    One problem with this is that last year Cincinnati actually beat Pittsburgh in the division anyway. Also, the Steelers won the Miami game. But my metaphor-fixing powers are limited.

  2. Anonymous10:02 AM

    So I wrote that before clicking through and seeing that Don Banks had described the puncturing the aura as something that could set off a domino effect. I give.