Dave’s readers no doubt remember his Don Quixote-like campaign against ESPN, and the NFL, and the media in general, to make them all stop using the phrase “under center” as a synonym for “quarterback”. It got so bad that the ESPN guys used the phrase “quarterback under center”.
Let’s go behind the scenes and examine the imaginary history of how this all got started. I take you now to the hush hush preseason meeting of Roger Goodell and the Tv Networks.
TV guy: Mr. Goodell, we are all making money hand over fist, but we have a problem.
TVG: Football is getting a very bad press in some circles. There’s talk about it being violent, with an injury every game, and the player’s literally getting scrambled brains for life.
G: But that’s what the public wants. Violence. Why do you think the game is so popular?
TVG: Yes, sir, but the public wants to be in denial. They want to think it is a royal, uplifting sport, one that God Himself watches with approval. They don’t want to admit to themselves that football is blood lust.
G: Oh, that. Time for another dose of the usual remedy, then.
TVG: And what would that be, sir?
G: Create confusion in their tiny little beer guzzling heads. Add a new phrase to the list of meaningless mumbo jumbo the announcers and writers use.
TVG: That’s why we are here, sir. You became commissioner because you are so good at coming up with phrases that have no meaning whatsoever.
G: I think my best one was “play action”. It so describes nothing. Every single play in a football game is a play, and has action.
TVG: We need a new one, sir.
At this point old Rog opens a drawer and pulls out a thick file. He flips around, looking for something juicy.
G: Under center.
G: Start using “under center”.
TVG: But what does it mean?
G: It means quarterback.
TVG: But a quarterback isn’t under the center, he’s behind the center, along with a few other players.
And so the campaign began. Every single football article, commentary, and play by play, all used “under center” like it was a magic spell.
At this point, a lone voice of sanity in a wilderness of doubletalk, Smiling Dave wrote his famous article ranting against “under center”. He didn’t expect much. He thought it was a lost cause from the start. Little did he know about the secret meeting the day before the Super Bowl of Goodell and his menials. We have gotten a transcript of this imaginary meeting, and here it is:
G: Yet another multi billion dollar season. Ho hum.
TV Guy: The people are in revolt, sir.
G: What about, TV Guy?
TVG: They are sick of hearing “under center”, sir. Some rabble rouser called Smiling Dave exposed it for what it is back in September, and his rant against it has gone viral. Our polls show that if people hear the words “under center” one more time, they will turn off the Super Bowl in mid game.
G: Buy him off.
TVG: We’ve approached him sir, but he is incorruptible. In any case, it’s too late. The masses are in revolt.
G: We can’t admit defeat. The NFL never backs down. Never.
TVG: In that case, sir, we will regretfully have to cancel all future television contracts with the NFL. Nobody will watch the stupid games if they hear “under center”.
G: TV Guy, I will have to do something drastic. The injuries, the concussions, the deaths, the cheating, the fixed games, the referees, I have triumphed, triumphantly, over all those. But Smiling Dave has brought me down. Forget about under center. Use a new phrase to describe the quarterback.
TVG: What shall we call him, sir? The Passer? The Captain? The Leader? The Co-ordinator? The Boss?
G: Call him “over center”.
And indeed they did. Let the record show that the announcers used “over center” over and over. Look it up.
And so, on Super Bowl Ex El Vee Eye Eye, under center died. Long live over center.
Smiling Dave changed the Superbowl forever.