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Creating jokes using football’s vocabulary
Some material for joke writing
Richard Linde, 16 May 2005

American football has developed a culture of its own as illustrated by its lexicon of strange phrases and terms. Many of the words, phrases and terms from football – such as shotgun -- have other meanings in the English language.

Why not borrow on this heritage of weird terms and double meanings to create jokes that use puns. A joke is something said or done to provoke laughter; the trick is to use a pun, a play on words, to provoke laughter. Not all puns elicit laughter – maybe, a groan instead (say, a punch below the belt: a groan injury, as in groin). So, let the pun fit the recipient.

Over the Internet, jokes are sent from person to person via e-mail. But somewhere along the line somebody had to make up these jokes. Now you can be punny, too, starting with the material below.

The point of all of this is to find a way to get back at all those friends of yours who e-mail you jokes over the internet. What better way to do that than by e-mailing them jokes with puns?

1. Puns

Here are some puns from football’s vocabulary. Each pun can be used as a punch line in a joke.

Aside: You don't need to credit me with this stuff -rrl.

  • “Under a red dog, Sam Schnauzer delivered a pooch.” E-mail that to a veterinarian.
  • “John Dillinger made a one-handed stab.” Send that to a criminologist.
  • “On a hook and ladder, Williams stopped the bleeding.” E-mail that to either a fireman or a paramedic.
  • Using the shotgun, Sonny Sixkiller rifled a split end on a curl. E-mail that to a hairdresser with football savvy.
  • “The final score rests in the trenches.” The field has been dug up? E-mail that to a ditch-or-grave digger.
  • “He boots a small squib” He puts a small firecracker in a boot? Send that to a pyrotechnic.
  • “After the jail break fizzled, the chain gang came on.” Is the game being played in a prison yard? Send that to a guy who has done a nickel to a dime (puns intended).
  • Mike and Sam spilled the Juice.” Are Mike and Sam sloppy boys? E-mail that to a football nut. He’ll get the puns.
  • “Cody Spaghetti likes to throw to his go-to guy.” Send that to a computer programmer. It’s a pun on spaghetti code with too many goto statements.
  • “Speaking through his bird cage, Robin Parrot audiblized.” You know, face mask. E-mail that to Aunt Polly.
  • “Thanks to his offense, Coach Carroll’s defense rests.” Coach Carroll is on trial for what minor offense? Send that to a mouthpiece (pun intended) from ‘SC, e.g., Rick Neuheisel, the former Washington coach.
  • “Running a bootleg, Jay Gatsby delivered a fumblewhooskie.” Pun on fumblerooskie and Gatby’s alleged bootlegging. E-mail that to a high school kid who likes football and has taken American Lit.

2. Using a pun as a punch line in a joke.

A pun can function as a punch line in a joke. Didn't know that did you? Here’s an example taken from the list in 1 above.

Coach Willingham: “Isaiah, your hair is looking frowzy. You need to get a haircut.”

Isaiah: “Every time I try to cut my hair I miss the mark.”

Coach Willingham: “What?”

Isaiah: “Every time I’m in the shotgun, I overshoot a split end on a curl.”

3. Using a pun in personification

According to NY Times columnist Bill Safire, walk has a history of successful suffixing. A walk-on is a short non-speaking part for an actor; however, in college sports a walk-on is a player invited to participate in practices sans the university scholarship normally given a player.

Using personification, color commentator Chuck Nelson might say, “The walk-on’s role was scripted by the third quarter.”

Headline writers on sports pages are punny when they can get away with it. This site is infamous for the puns in its headlines.

Aside: I threw Safire in to sound heady. In fact, I'm linking Safire to this article. He's always looking for new material. And Nelson, too. He'll get a kick out of it-rrl.

4. Football terms and their definitions. Some examples.

Aside: You need to establish your credentials as an expert -rrl.

-- Clutch is something made or done in a crucial situation, as in a clutch catch.

-- A one-handed stab could be a clutch catch, but it is made with one hand.

-- Pick is derived from picked-off -- the quarterback’s throw being intercepted. He was picked off by the cornerback. The corner had three picks on the game. A pick could be an offensive maneuver in which two receivers cross and one bumps the defender of the other.

-- Turnover refers to a fumble or interception that loses possession of the ball, not “reorganization with a view to a shift in personnel.” Turn over (two words) may refer to the flight dynamics of a punt.

-- Trap is a play in which a defensive player is allowed to cross the line of scrimmage and then is blocked from the side, say by the tight end, while the ballcarrier advances through the spot vacated by the defensive player.

-- Curl is a pass route where the receiver runs downfield before turning back to run towards the line of scrimmage.

5. A list of football terms with double meanings.

You get the idea. But as you can see you have to know the meanings of the terms before you can pun them.

Here’s a partial list of football terms that can be used as puns. Make up your own puns, convert them into punch lines and jokes and send them to that annoying jokester on the Internet.

This list goes on and on: audible; bird cage; blindside; blitz; bomb; bootleg; buttonhook; chain gang; clutch; counter; crack-back; curl; cut; dime; flea flicker; flood; gap; groin; gunner; Hail Mary; hash; hitch; hook and ladder; jail break; juice, key; lateral; Mike; motion; mousetrap; mouthpiece; nickel; nose; option; penetration; pitch; pooch; post; punt; red dog; redshirt; red zone; sack; Sam; scheme, scramble; scrimmage, seam, skinny post; slant; spike; snap; squib; split end; spread; stab; Statue of Liberty; stunt; suicide; tight end; trap; trenches; turn in; turnover; veer; upright, wide receiver; wounded duck, and zone.

You don’t know the meaning of these terms? Then go-to this website.

Aside: I'm out of here --rrl.


Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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