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5 American Sporting Terms That Have Infiltrated Rugby And Other Sports

5 American Sporting Terms That Have Infiltrated Rugby And Other Sports
By Conor O'Leary
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American sport can be a curious thing to those of us on this side of the Atlantic. For all the talk of soccer making gains in the American market, there has been an equally pervasive trend of sports such as American football and basketball becoming increasingly popular over here. And that's all perfectly fine. There's just one thing we're a bit worried about. American sporting terms seem to creeping into our already established sports and we're not sure how we feel about it.

Take, for example, the recent USA v New Zealand match in Chicago. Terms like rumbles and lateral passing were widely used in the American broadcast and we all had a quick laugh at it and thought nothing of it. However, some American terms have found their way across the pond, and they seem to be entering our sporting vocabulary at a rip roaring pace. Just this weekend, even Donal Lenihan and Ryle Nugent were guilty of it.

1. Redzone

In NFL parlance, the Redzone is the area from the 20 yard line to the endzone, where the offense has to score touchdowns. So when the ball is within 20 yards from the endzone, a team has entered the RedZone. Donal Lenihan and Ryle Nugent were dropping this term into Ireland's rugby match with Georgia yesterday, with Donal's example below talking about the number of foul plays the Georgians were committing in the "redzone" near the Georgian tryline. Coincidence?


2. Depth Chart

NFL rosters especially are known for their depth charts, i.e. a very public view of organising a team's roster into starters, backups and extra backups. This is now the new in vogue term in GAA and rugby, especially after Munster's email leak which listed their depth chart.

3. Powerplay

Also from rugby, Brian O'Driscoll spoke in depth about Ireland's "powerplay" try against South Africa last week. A powerplay in NHL is when one player is put to the sin bin for 2 minutes, and his team are now defending with 4 men against a full strength 5. This is a huge source of scoring goals in ice hockey, and when a goal is scored before the end of the 2 minute power play, the player is allowed back in. Similarly, for Tommy Bowe's try against South Africa when Adriaan Strauss was in the sin bin (15 v 14), he talks about a power-play move that was from the training ground which allowed Bowe to extend Ireland's lead.


Bernard Jackman talks about a power play when Trimble scored against France in this year's 6 Nations at the 8:30 mark here.

4. 12th Man

Let's be 'avin you. A great term for a vocal home support for a football team, or used when one team is in desperate need of extra help against a superior opposition. The term was coined in America in the early 1900's from a magazine for the University of Minnesota. It's frequently used in relation to loud boisterous stadiums in America, with Seattle's 12th man being particularly mentioned. Nothing compares to Delia Smith's plea to Norwich though.



5. Quarterbacks

The main position in NFL. Much like a striker in football, or an outhalf in rugby; every kid growing up wants to be the main man. It's a lot more pronounced in NFL. Quarterbacking in other sports refers to outhalfs or midfield generals through which the entire play runs through. Xavi, Andrea Pirlo and Xabi Alonso are examples of players who run their teams as a quarterback.

Also Read:

The Very Best Of The Groundbreaking American Rugby Commentary From USA Vs All Blacks


Ian Madigan Has Been Taking Some Inspiration From The NFL

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