A home run has never happened in a football game, and yet home runs can be found all over writing about the sport, mainly when it comes to transactions. A new coach is a “home-run hire.” Wow! A team “hit a home run” with its draft picks. Okay!
Here are people in football who have been described as home-run hires: Lovie Smith, Chris Petersen if he went to the NFL, Kevin Sumlin, Chip Kelly, Willie Taggart, Marcus Lattimore, whoever would take over at Arizona State after Todd Graham, Hue Jackson, and not Dan Mullen. That last one is quite a trip:
After swinging for the fences in his first major coaching search as Florida athletic director, Scott Stricklin found his new guy in his old guy: Dan Mullen.
It isn’t the home-run hire that Chip Kelly would have been, and it doesn’t make the same splash that up-and-comer Scott Frost would have made.
Let’s try to break this down. Chip Kelly: home run. Dan Mullen: uh, a well-hit single. Scott Frost: McCovey Cove?
Sometimes, actual football is subjected to this treatment. Fake 94 X Read, a football play ordered by a football coach to his football player, is a “home run play.” Pete Carroll trying a fake field goal is one, too. This one is just gruesome, as home runs are apparently worth seven points:
The Falcons didn’t cross midfield until just over five minutes remained in the second quarter, but one play later they scored their first touchdown of the game. Matt Ryan connected with Marvin Hall on a 47-yard home-run play to give Atlanta a 7-0 lead.
If only there were another word for that kind of scoring play...
Although football might be the worst offender, this hackneyed device is not exclusive to it. If Tom Crean has to be described using a baseball concept, he’d be a starting pitcher that gets pulled in the fourth. Here’s one that is particularly infuriating: When asked about Georgetown’s hiring of Patrick Ewing, Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim called it a “home run.” Goddammit. “Slam dunk” is right there!
These all seem tame, however, when compared to the monstrosity in Albert Breer’s article on Colts general manager Chris Ballard today. May it represent the nadir—and hopefully the end—of “home runs” in football:
The Colts believed they hit a home run with their GM hire, and now it’s looking more like a grand slam.
Upon further review, it turns out there were three men on base. What a buttfumble!