[Ads-l] "It's always easy to Monday-morning-quarterback a situation."

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 17 22:34:20 UTC 2018

In December 2016, I posted on my blog about Monday morning, Sunday morning, grandstand, bleacher and drug-store quarterbacks (among others).


I did not look into the verb form and I don't think my post has any early examples.

Grandstand quarterback - 1927, credited to Percy Haughton, former coach of Harvard and Columbia.

Sunday morning quarterback - 1928, credited to Knut Rockne.

Drugstore quarterback - 1931 (similar to drugstore cowboy, 1922).

Monday morning quarterback - 1931, popularized after Harvard Quarterback, Barry Wood's, speech to a New England educators' convention (Bill Mullin has since found an earlier example from 1930 - http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2016-December/145522.html).

I posted information on ADS-L on December 7, 2016.  It doesn't come up in a search of the database, but I found it here: http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2016-December/145500.html .

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 11:37:28 AM
Subject: Re: "It's always easy to Monday-morning-quarterback a situation."

---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Re: "It's always easy to Monday-morning-quarterback a situation."

HDAS does indeed have an entry for the verb, but allow me to Monday morning
quarterback it a bit.

_Monday morning quarterback_ v. Esp. _Journ._ to criticize with the benefit
of hindsight; second-guess. Hence _Monday morning quarterbacking_, n.

This seems backwards, since it's pretty clear that the noun "Monday morning
quarterbacking" is the original and the verb came about via back-formation.
HDAS takes the noun back to 1950 -- OED3 has 1946, which can be further

_Pittsburgh Press_, Nov. 13, 1933, p. 26, col. 1
A little Monday morning quarterbacking.

And as I mentioned in a bygone thread, "Sunday morning quarterbacking" goes
back even further, with cites back to 1931.


The first HDAS cite given for the verb "Monday morning quarterback" is from
1973. OED3 doesn't cover it, but here it is from 1948.

_Pottstown (Pa.) Mercury_, July 31, 1948, p. 1, col. 6
Local weather prophets, industriously sucking their salt pills, sat back
yesterday and Monday morning quarter-backed that July was a "scorcher."


On Wed, Jan 17, 2018 at 11:58 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>

> Isn't the verb in HDAS II?
> Too lazy/busy to look.
> JL
> On Wed, Jan 17, 2018 at 10:50 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> wrote:
> > It=E2=80=99s also easy, as Google hits (both literal and metaphorical) =
> to
> > back-seat drive (a car, a relationship, an organization,=E2=80=A6)
> >
> > LH
> >
> > > On Jan 17, 2018, at 2:03 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> > >
> > > --
> > > -Wilson
> > >

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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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