Saturday, January 6, 2007

Is it the hook-and-ladder or hook-and-lateral?

This is a big help. One of the first google hits is and it goes:

"Hook and Ladder: A pass play in which the receiver catches a pass facing toward the line of scrimmage, then laterals the ball to another offensive player who is racing toward the opponent's end zone."

So lateral is in the definition.

It's a little embarrassing to even ax the question. Boise State's excellent rendition rekindled all of this.

A few years ago, I'd have told you it's called the hook-and-lateral, stupid. The receiver runs a hook route and laterals it to the other guy. What the hell is a hook and ladder anyway? The answer was that it's a fireman term, but what does that have to do with it?

But somewhere along the line, I flip-flopped and decided it's the hook-and-ladder. Maybe just because it sounds better when you say it. More likely, I started noticing that the "hook-and-lateral" guys sounded like pricks and I'd rather just be potentially wrong instead of that guy.

So hook-and-ladder, then. I was fine with that. Didn't even blink when I mentioned the Boise State play.

Then the other morning, I was on the can and turned on the radio. Fat Mike and Fruity Mike were embroiled in this debate. Fruity Mike says hook-and-ladder, Fat Mike says hook-and-lateral. But you know how it is with these two. They decide during the commercial break what to argue about and have to write down who's on which side so they don't forget. Because a fake, inane debate is such great radio.

A few minutes later, they brought on Bill Curry and axed him. Curry's answer was "Why, lateral isn't even a football term. There are forward passes and backward passes, there's no such thing as a lateral. C'mon guys, it's hook-and-ladder."

But then, I was reading the Sports Guy Bill Simmons yesterday and he wrote that hook-and-ladder is a malapropism: "Flicking over to the Fiesta Bowl and catching the last few minutes of Boise State-Oklahoma, seeing Boise's QB seemingly blow the game with one of those Paul Crewe "I'm openly shaving points" picks, watching him rally back with the first hook-and-ladder play I've seen live in 26 years (it's really the "hook-and-lateral," but I like the malapropism better)."

The American Heritage Dictionary says a malapropism is a "Ludicrous misuse of a word." Jeez, now I'm ludicrisp?

I'd trust Sports Guy over the aforementioned opiners, not because I worship at his altar, but because he's probably written a 9000-word column about it and his buddies Uncle Lou and Hunch-Bug are in his court. They'd punch him in the arm and stuff if he didn't get it right.

I'm still saying hook-and-ladder, but I'm re-shaken now. Seriously, what's the answer?

This also made me go back to a much simpler question: Shovel Pass or Shuffle Pass? For years, Freen and I loudly mocked announcers who'd shout "SHUFFLE PASS!" Even when someone got it right, we'd shout "SHUFFLE PASS!" at the television when one was shoveled.

Stawp yourselves, it's shovel pass.

Went back to an e-mail dated 11 Oct 2005 after I'd seen an NFL Films joint all about this debate. Funny note: in the same e-mail, I'm mocking then-Bills coach Mike Mularkey for this:

> Coach Mike Mularkey will not announce his starting quarterback for week six until just before game time, according to a report by the Associated Press. "We think it is an advantage as a team, when you have two different types of quarterbacks, to play it out as long as we can," Mularkey said. "I think it's an advantage regardless of what other people think."

JP Losman and Kelly Holcomb were so different. How did the Bears let Mularkey get away?

Anyways, my findings on Shovel Pass/Shuffle Pass from this NFL Films program were as follows:

- Some of the dumber old QBs said both are right, Shovel Pass or Shuffle Pass.

- God's Gift to QBs, Peyton Manning said "Shovel Pass? Naw, that makes no sense at all. It's called a Shuffle Pass."

What a rube. Then, another hat was thrown into the ring. Shuttle Pass. Manning says: "Huh, Shuttle Pass. I don't know that one, but it makes a whole lot more sense than SHOVEL Pass."

- Peter King said he has no idea.

- Paul Tagliabue said it's Shovel Pass, stupid.

- Kordell Stewart was the smartest guy in the room. He said (and I'm not quoting really, obviously): "Shuffle Pass? Naw, naw, there's no shuffling involved. We're not playing cards, we're not dancing. SHUTTLE PASS? Wow. So now we're putting the ball on a bus and sending it into space."

Not sure about the spacebus deal, but Kordell had it right. It's Shovel Pass and the rest is rigoddamnediculous. You've got me. I still need help with that.


azibuck said...

Sweet, popup comments. You're blog may suck, but your fast with the customer service.

I think Curry is right and wrong. From a rules standpoint, there may only be forward or backward passes so the word "lateral" may not be in the rulebook.

But it sure as hell is a word in football. Even if it's technically used improperly, in football, a "lateral" is pretty much any non-forward pass.

And to give this too much thought -- the passes are only backward in relation to the direction the team is going. Most often a player is running, uhh, well, laterally, or something other than north/south when he passes it back. Thus, the player is actually passing the ball to his side. It's lateral in relation to the direction he's running at the time.

Hell, even when he's heading due norff and passes it "backward", it's still most likely to his side.

Hook. And Lateral. You can call it hook and ladder, but then that's just a name, not what it is.

dhort said...

The key to great customer service is having only one customer. Before you even swallow that sip of coffee, I'll have your cup re-topped.

I'll hang up and think about your answer.

Cowboys are going to give me a leg up on most of the shitwits tonight.