Misnomers are everywhere. Some we can change and some we cannot. It seems that the ones we cannot are so established into our culture that the shock of change would send Twitter into the usual whoever is responsible should be killed call to action.
The misnomer that is currently driving me crazy is the 2-Minute Warning in football.
In the early days of football, the official time of the game was kept by a referee on the field. This practice was maintained because crude technology could not sync up with a stadium clock for proper timekeeping. Coaches and players had no real way to tell how much time was left in the half or the end of the game. Clearly, no one gave a shit about the end of the 1st or 3rd quarters.
Therefore, a ‘warning’ was created to inform the coaches, players and the fans that the end of the half and the end of the game was approaching.
Why 2 minutes?
Well, it didn’t have to be 2 minutes; it could have been 5 minutes. Informing a head football coach of 5 minutes until the end of the half or the end of the game would probably have been greeted with a shrug and a “Let me know when it really counts, okay?”
It could also have been a 10 second warning; to which your average head coach would most likely blow a gasket and declare “Jesus Christ! How about a little heads up on the ticky-ticky you tube steak!”
Thus, the 2-Minute Warning was created, adopted and accepted. The acceptance of the 2-Minute Warning is so much a part of the game that television networks depend on it as a major commercial break to further acquaint the public with cars and beer. This commercial break lasts much longer than the actual 2 minutes it was warning us about in the first place; certainly long enough to assemble a communications satellite … by hand!
Enter modern technology. There are official, digital clocks displayed everywhere in all football stadiums. Coaches, players, fans and even cheerleaders know how much time is remaining in each quarter and furthermore, before each play. For the quarterback, not knowing how much time is left before the football is to be snapped could result in a penalty. Television networks display the time graphics virtually non-stop throughout the game; leading to panic all over America to “Snap the ball, you idiot!”
Mindful of this knowledge, is a 2-Minute Warning still necessary?
Does the referee really need to run over to the sideline and inform the head coach that there are 2 minutes left?
“Say, I know you’re in the heat of battle and all, but there only happens to be 2 minutes left before time will expire. Well, not all time as in the end of life, but time in this contest”.
There are 2 likely results:
1) The head coach will probably react with, “Yeah, I know, everybody knows. Even the cheerleaders know, you tube steak!”
2) The opposing head coach will probably shake his head and say, “Oh Geez, here’s where the tube steak tells me there 2 minutes left to go in the game”.
IT’S NOT A WARNING IF EVERYBODY KNOWS!!!
Sure, it’s vital to the TV networks; everybody has to feed the monkey, man.
Let’s just call the 2-Minute Warning what it should be called, the 2-MINUTE TIMEOUT.
Football can adapt. Officials used to declare the penalty of ‘Illegal Motion’ by using the words, “Prior to the snap…”. It was unnecessary. It was unnecessary because if it was AFTER the snap, it would be legal.
Your honor, I present to you the 2-Minute Timeout.