We're all familiar with the many sports terms that have moved into general usage: "par for the course," "slam-dunk," "curveball," "photo finish" and so on.
Curiously, though, every now and then something of the inverse occurs, and we get an expression which is commonly used that has been derived from sport, but never used in sport.
For example, that awful, overdone cliche, "level playing field." Never in my life have I ever heard anyone in sport — that is, somebody actually right there on the level playing field — say, "I'm glad we're playing on a level playing field."
Football fans are furious. Bettors are out an estimated $150 million. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin — the Republican who's famous for battling with organized labor — is on the side of the referees union. And the NFL is in something of a "prevent defense," saying that nothing can be done to change the outcome.
Despite complaints from NFL coaches and players, the league and its locked-out officials are no closer to reaching a deal than they were last week, according to reports. The two sides are separated by "significant and serious economic gaps," an anonymous source tells the AP.
A representative of the NFL Referees Association confirmed that talks had taken place, but he would not go into detail, the AP reports.