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Glossary for Terms, Rules, & Analogies


Madden Mistake

A play call or action in a real game that mimics what we all try to do while playing against gullible Madden AI. Could also be a team doing something we would only expect to see from a gullible Madden AI.

25th Element

The most generic, below average but not terrible team in the league. This is the closest embodiment at any one time of the fictional team I use in my Power Rankings Methodology. The closest team to 25th Element perfection was the 2022 Washington Football Team with Carson Wentz starting.


Any grouping of the top 4 in anything. Current NFL Rushmore of people-players is Jamaal Williams, Taylor Heinicke, Lamar Jackson, and Justin Jefferson.


My version of plug-and-play, but I think mine is more descriptive. Most often used for offensive linemen, this player can be given a position and you won’t have to worry about that spot for the next decade. Ex. Joe Thomas.

Conjunction of Skills

As schemes continue to evolve and players build out their skills to fit those schemes, positions converge. And like the Conjunction of Spheres, the consequence of the collision of established worlds, is new monsters.

Clickbait Loop

A clickbait article gets attention, which leads to lots of fans spreading the article around, which leads to writers trying to capture the trend, which leads to fans becoming more convinced that the article topic is meaningful, which leads to writers and fans all convincing each other and themselves that a garbage topic is something important. Example: Practice Interceptions.

Hockenson Effect

An inverse relationship where the more a player is involved in the offense, the lower your chances of winning. Named for T.J. Hockenson.


When to Try 2-Point Conversion

Not until the 4 minute mark in the 4th quarter. Not even if there’s a penalty and you get it at the 1 yard line. Oh, you have a chart that says otherwise? Cute, but worthless.

*Exception: I have no problem with a coach who has a “go for 2 every time” mentality. My beef is with the coaches looking at the “chart” in the 2nd quarter.

**Amendment: Even though it fits within my rule, it’s worth saying that I am almost always in favor of going for 2 to win the game instead of kicking an extra point to tie and go into overtime. I can’t actually think of a scenario where I’d be against it. By definition, the situation would have to be that you were playing from behind and recently got the momentum and scored a touchdown. Go for the win now.

Admittedly, I have a bit of bias on this last point. The greatest game I ever played in, and the game I scored my lone career touchdown at the varsity level (52 yard catch and run that included a sick juke and my blazing 5.1 40 speed), came on September 18, 1998. Laconia vs Lomira, a bitter rivalry. I played DE/TE, and Lomira’s running back had 60 lbs. on me. We had no business winning that game. So when the time came to kick the extra point and tie or go for 2 and win, our coach didn’t hesitate for even a second. We lined up for the extra point, our QB as the holder took the snap, rolled left, and lofted it to a wide open receiver in the back of the endzone to put us up 21-20, which would be the final score.

laconia 21, lomira 20 prep football score

Fall on the Ground

There’s less than a minute left, your team is up by a touchdown, you make a great defensive play and intercept the pass. You see open field ahead and start thinking about your touchdown dance. FALL ON THE GROUND.

There’s less than two minutes left, the other team has no timeouts, one first down effectively ends the game, you’re a running back or wide receiver who gets the ball and gets the first down, but then you look up and see open field ahead and start thinking about your touchdown dance. FALL ON THE GROUND.


Think you’ve got a big enough lead to sit back and relax? Probably not. Not in this league. When there’s 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter and you have a 4 score lead, you can put in the backups and laugh on the sideline. Until you reach 8-4-4, it should be hammer down.

4th Quarter Comeback Statistic

If we’re counting this and pretending it’s a meaningful metric, then let’s try to do it right. Credit is only given when these conditions are met. Winning is not a requirement.

  • Drive starts with less than 4 minutes
  • Drive has to cover at least 50 yards
    • Excluding penalties on the defense
    • Including non-QB penalties on the offense
  • Drive has to end with a touchdown or field goal that gives team the lead or tie
    • Credit will be given if extra point would tie the game but is missed
    • Credit will be given if field goal of 45 yards or less would win or tie the game but is missed
  • Drive must leave no more than 59 seconds on the game clock
  • Winning the game is not required if all other criteria are met


Kobayashi Maru

From Star Trek, this was an impossible Starfleet exercise that featured a literal no-win scenario meant to test the character of young officers. Example: Bill Belichick is Kobayashi Maru for journalists.

Pandemic Rice

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a lot of concern about supply lines and not being able to get the things we need. Like toilet paper, apparently. So if you were lucky enough to live near a wholesale store like Costco, you likely did what we did… buy the biggest bag of rice you can find.

Do you know how many different things you can make with 50 pounds of rice? A lot.

In the NFL, Pandemic Rice players are typically great athletes with the capacity to learn and fill in wherever needed. It’s the Swiss Army knife, the utility guy, the Slash. It’s Kordell Stewart if he hadn’t tried to be just a QB, Troy Brown playing CB, Deion Sanders at WR. Endlessly versatile, always willing.

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