[Ads-l] career long

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 14 03:30:47 UTC 2020

In the BCS championship game, after Clemson's B.T. Potter kicked a 52-yard
field goal, ESPN announcer Chris Fowler said it was "a new career long" for
Potter -- clearly the kicker's version of "career high."

It's common usage in reporting on placekicking, as in this 2010 quote from
Stefan Fatsis (author of "A Few Seconds of Panic," wherein he trains to be
an NFL kicker a la George Plimpton):

His career long is 55, as a rookie in 1991; which doesn't really mean much,
because long FG attempts are so situational.

While OED3 has "high" in the relevant sense (11a: "a high level exceeding
that previously attained; an overall maximum, a record"), there's no
corresponding sense listed for "long."

Here's adjectival "career-long" from 1974 (in the sense of "longest of
one's career," rather than "for the length of one's career"):

NY Daily News, Oct. 6, 1974, p. C36, col. 4
Green raced 39 yards for the first TD and his career-long 56-yarder set up
one Don Gesecki's two scores early in the third period.

And here's "career long" as a noun phrase from 1976:

NY Daily News, Dec. 15, 1976, p. 23C, col. 2
So he got a 28-yarder, his career long, for the big run that got him to 999.


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