1/16/2005 Add a comment

Concurrent with the elation after the Steelers win here at SnapCulture has been confusion over the proper nomenclature for the pass that Ben Roethlisberger threw to Hines Ward for the game-tying touchdown. It was a pass where the quarterback flips the ball forward, a pass that I have always called and heard called a "shovel pass", as you shovel the ball to the receiver. But in his recap of the game, ESPN.com's John Clayton calls it a shuffle pass, and Terry Bradshaw was calling it a shuffle pass on FOX's post-game highlights.

A little google research uncovers a raging debate in the football world, as found on the messageboards of the Redskins and Browns. Apparently the distinction or lack thereof has puzzled closed caption-writers for years. In fact, this author of football-coaching books claims that the phrase "shuffle pass" originated as a typo! Is this simply an oft-misspoken phrase or has it taken on a new meaning by those who (mis)use it? One barometer, the phrase "shovel pass" shows up on google 16,900 times, "shuffle pass" only 1,400. Either way, it'll always be a shovel pass in my book... ben