[Ads-l] "[Blank] Quarterback" - Second-guessing

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 7 15:56:28 EST 2016

I revisited the expression "Monday morning quarterback" that I wrote about on my blog a couple years ago.  My earlier effort missed the big picture.

"Monday morning quarterback" has been discussed here in the past, with Barry Popik pointing out the earliest example of "Monday morning quarterback" in the New York Times, December 5, 1931 and Ben Zimmer noting that "Sunday morning quarterback" antedated MMQ by more than a year.


I heard the expression "armchair quarterback" the other day, prompting me to take a second look.  There are at least four "[blank] quarterback" idioms that antedate "Monday morning quarterback," and more than a dozen that followed it.

The earliest ones are:

"Grandstand quarterback," "As Joe Williams Sees It," Pittsburgh Press, October 17, 1927, page 31.

"Cigar store quarterback" (one example), Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, October 22, 1927, page 9.

"Sunday morning quarterback," Knute Rockne's syndicated column, Des Moines Register, September 28, 1928, page 12.

"Drugstore quarterback" (perhaps influenced by the earlier "drugstore cowboy"), Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, November 22, 1931, page 13.

"Sunday morning quarterback" appeared in print only sporadically before "Monday morning quarterback."   "Monday morning quarterback" immediately became the most common one after it first appeared in print, although "Sunday morning" appeared more frequently thereafter as well.  "Grandstand quarterback" was more common than "Sunday morning quarterback" before and after "Monday morning quarterback."

Later variants include: armchair, bleacher, radio, parlor, easy chair, soda fountain, day-after, living room, television (or TV), beer parlor and beer garden quarterbacks, although a few of them only show up one or a few times.  "Armchair", "bleacher," "drugstore" and "television" return a significant number of hits over a long period of time.

My post: http://esnpc.blogspot.com/2016/12/grandstands-armchairs-and-drugstores.html

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