Word Up! “Skill Players”

It’s Friday, time for the world’s funnest vocabulary lesson! Even though “funnest” isn’t a word, but let’s carry on anyway, to this week’s sports saying: “skill player.”

I must admit, ladies, it wasn’t that many years ago when it dawned on me that many, if not most football players rarely actually touch the ball. Even if they are technically part of the “offense.” Never score a touchdown, never slamdunk the goalpost.

That’s because our attention (somewhat rightfully) is so focused on the skill players – although that term is certainly a little unfair. It’s not just quarterbacks and receivers who have skills – being a lineman is a delicate, if hefty, art, whose value is often lost on all but the most educated fans (read: not me).

Can't touch this, even if he didn't touch the ball much. Defensive lineman William "The Refrigerator" Perry topped out at nearly 400 pounds during the Chicago Bears' "Super Bowl Shuffle" 1985 season.

Defensive lineman William “The Refrigerator” Perry topped out at nearly 400 pounds during the Chicago Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle” 1985 season.

Skill players/skill positions are from whence most football points are scored, although it’s not uncommon to see one of the big guys deflect a pass and run it in for a “pick-6” (touchdown off an interception). But mostly the marquee guys are as follows: quarterback, running back, receivers, cornerback, safety, return specialist/punt returner, and occasionally, linebacker and defensive end.The other fellas, linemen and tackles mostly, form the core of the line of scrimmage. They don’t have to throw a ball well or even be fast (though some surprisingly are), but they do have to be big, strong, and smart to allow skill players to get the ball in the end zone. Kickers and holders also have a unique skillset. But it’s usually a quarterback or a receiver you’ll hear about scoring.

Or shooting up da club.

That said, some big guys make big names for themselves on the field and in soap commercials—Ray Lewis (retired, Baltimore), J.J. Watt (Texas, current Yahoo Sports “Shut you down!” commercial star), and Clay Matthews (the long blonde-haired one for Green Bay) are just a few.

(Wait, let me picture that last one for a minute. Sigh…)

So this weekend, try focusing for a few minutes on the guys creating pathways and taking players out (with legal hits, we hope) – and give a little love to the linemen.


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