While football is a tough and demanding sport, over the years it has generated some laugh-producing statements including a good number of malapropisms and misspeaks.
Undoubtedly, the best-known of the coaching malapropists was Bill Peterson, the former excellent coach of the Florida State Seminoles wqho preceeded Bobby Bowden. Those who observed him in action feel his classic statements came in stressful or excited situations. Some of Peterson's most memorable are:
n On his relationship with players: ''I've always had great repertoire with my players.''
n Reminding those around him who was in charge: ''I'm the football coach around here and don't you remember it!''
n On favorable crowd reaction to his speech: ''They gave me a standing observation.''
n Discussing a meeting between his team and a key rival: ''It'll be like two ships that crash in the night.''
n On playing style: ''We're going to throw the football, come hell or high water. We're not gonna be any three clouds-and-a-yard-of-dust kind of team.''
n About an upcoming opponent: ''We can beat this team. All we have to do is capitalize on our mistakes.''
n Asked if he thought it would rain: ''What do you think I am - a geologist?''
n Giving instructions on the field: ''You guys pair off in groups of threes, then line up in a circle.''
n To one of his players, an aspiring minister, after a game: ''Lead us in a few words of silent prayer.''
n Helping a photographer on press day: ''You guys line up alphabetically by height.''
n After a gallant but losing effort: ''We can hang our heads high.''
n About a past problem: ''I used to have this slight speech implement."
n Remarking on an improvement: ''I couldn't remember things before I took that Sam Carnegie Course.''
n On being honored: ''The greatest thing just happened. I got indicted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.''
n Waxing patriotic: ''This is the greatest country in America.''
n On being together: ''We're all in this together, and don't you remember it.''
And then there are the following items from various sources:
n Terry Bradshaw, former Steeler quarterback and now a television sports analyst, describing a situation when he played: ''One time we had 10 turnovers in Riverfront Stadium - seven fumbles and four interceptions.''
n Broadcasting the Miami-Georgia Tech football game, sportscaster Bill Derne declared: ". . . and now coming into the game is the five-ton junior from Canton, Ohio.''
n During the 1973 NFL season, when the New Orleans Saints did not fare too well, even the great Archie Manning had been booed. When John Ferguson of WWL-TV, asked the respected QB if the booing had hurt him or his teammates, he responded: ''No, I think it was just a small majority of the people.''
n During the course of the Oakland Raiders-Kansas City chiefs game, sportscaster Curt Gowdy offered this summary of a successful TD drive: ''The 78- yard drive was led by 14-year-old veteran, Lenny Dawson.''
n Bradshaw, on demands the banquet circuit and his announcer's job have made on his since retiring from the NFL: ''When you're unemployed you have to work all the time.''
n John Mackovic, former Kansas City Chiefs coach, on being prepared: ''You must always be prepared for today. If you lose sight of that, then you will never have a today, which was a tomorrow yesterday. What I'm saying is, you must be prepared for today, because tomorrow really doesn't ever get here from yesterday, and we have to assume it will get here again tomorrow.''
Mitch Tullai is a humorist and sports historian from Lutherville, MD. He is an occasional contributor to Voice of the Fan.