"war daddy"

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Wed Feb 2 00:19:55 UTC 2005

yOn Tue, 1 Feb 2005, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

> Jesse Sheidlower <jester at PANIX.COM> wrote:
> I've been asked about the term _war daddy_ in football,
> referring to a very tough or aggressive player. Does
> anyone know the inspiration for this, or its history?

Here are the earliest citations from Nexis:

1980 _Wash. Post_ 8 July [article beginning on p. B1]  That was a theme
that ran through the sultry, 100-proof weekend full of old-timers like
James "War Daddy" Newsome, 54, a retired master sergeant who flipped
burgers at the picnic.

1985 _Arkansas Democrat-Gazette_ 13 Nov.  "The big deal about us is that
each area -- linemen, ends, linebackers, whatever -- each has contributed
at times when we've needed it," Lindsey said.  "We don't have a stud,
star, war-daddy, whatever.  For us to be effective, the guys who have had
to make the big plays have made them."

1989 _Sports Illustrated_ 11 Dec. [article beginning on p. 50]  "There's a
term [football] coaches use -- war daddies," says Curry.  "They get after
you and smash you.  A good team has one or two.  Auburn has 11."

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at yale.edu               http://quotationdictionary.com

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