2 expressions that particularly bother me:
“the thing of it is, is that…”
“hindsight is 20/20”
The Verbal Fill – many commentators (and sometimes even coaches) will say whole expressions like “the National Football League” instead of just saying “NFL” as part of an overall delay tactic so that they can try to think of something else to say. Sometimes these added words can also serve the purpose of making statements (especially overstatements) come across with greater emphasis. Politicians do this as well. Another way to think of this technique is that it is a stretching technique – commentators are simply stretching or increasing the # of words they are using in order to fill the void left by a lack of substance.
The Stutter of Profundity – this is employed when a commentator believes that what he will soon say is so profound (often said as an overstatement), it needs a build up in the form of a manufactured stutter. It is often not profound.
The Prediction Obsession – this is something most commentators suffer from (I need to include myself here too). An all-out obsession with being able to say he called the outcome of something. Even if someone has a horrendous track record of predicting, there exists and unusually vivid memory of the 1 or 2 good calls that person has had.
The Overstatement – again, this is a Salisbury-type trick, done by reaching an extreme conclusion about something with little evidence. Sometimes, on the continuum of truth, some of these comments may register, maybe, but there are times when commentators take them to the extreme and they find themselves unable to resist the excitement of stating an extreme position.
The Self-Interview – how many times are you listening to sports talk radio only to hear a full interview being conducted by the host, with the host?
Here’s an example of what an especially seasoned commentator/show host might say incorporating all of these tricks:
“Do I think the Packers are a quality team? Yes I do. In fact…ah…”(pause, some stuttering on the ah)”…they are the best team that has ever taken a field or court in any sport, in the history of the planet. Now, do I think this professional level football team that plays in Wisconsin from August through January can beat the National Football League team called the New England Patriots that plays out of the New England, USA, Earth, area if the two National Football League teams meet in say, the Super Bowl? I can’t say. As we all know (fake stutter), foresight isn’t 20/20” (pause to let the profundity settle in). “The thing of it is, is that once the season is done, hindsight will become 20/20 and by then the all-time champion of the world forever will be crowned and people might remember that while I may not have called this Super Bowl, I did predict 2 of the top 3 finishers at the 1986 Tour de France.”