Frank Deford, You Magnificent Bastard!
I have previously expressed my admiration here at the Sportress for one Frank Deford on numerous occasions. In sportswriting, he reigns as a king amongst men (and women!), a god amongst mere mortals, armed only with a typewriter, a keen wit and an impeccable sense of stylistic flair. He is a relic from a long-forgotten era when sports journalism was an honorable pursuit. You see, Deford has never been afraid to take a cockeyed look at the world of sports or to take the time to point out the erotic qualities inherent to the grunting of a female tennis player.
In his most recent missive, Deford turns the tried-and-true traditions of the NFL upon its ear – he argues that it is high time for the NFL, due to the ease in which they are made, to devalue the worth of a field goal to two points.
It’s easier to kick a field goal in the NFL than to make a free throw in the NBA — and free throws are just that: free. Nobody is contesting you. If field goals, contested, are guaranteed, better than 80 percent good, then, I’m sorry, but the game is lacking. Now, in the NFL, even better than half the field goal attempts from beyond 50 yards … split — as they always say — the uprights.
Excuse me, at least couldn’t we get a new cliché for making field goals besides “split the uprights?” How ’bout “cleave the verticals?” After a century of split the uprights, couldn’t we at least say cleave the verticals? If we can’t improve the game, at least let’s improve the cliché. Thank you.
Because field goals are so cheap now, the easiest thing is simply to devalue them, like a currency that’s overinflated. Field goals should only be worth two points. If it took three field goals to equal a touchdown, instead of just two, cowardly coaches would have to actually play more pass-ball and run-ball and actually try to score more touchdowns.
Frank Deford, you sir, have just blown my friggin’ mind.
And ha! Cleave the verticals. I’m sure the old silver fox himself has “cleaved a few verticals” in his time, if you know what I mean, because I don’t.