There's nothing that football announcers love more than a good cliche.
It's hard to blame them. Cliches are easier than coming up with a unique point every time you open your mouth (or use your fingers to type, for that matter), and just about every cliche got that way because they were generally true. If you say that one of the keys to the game is making sure your defense limits big plays, you're a lot more likely to be accused of being unoriginal than you are of being incorrect.
Some games seem to lend themselves to cliches more than others. The NFC Championship Game is one of those games, which means you should probably brush up on some of them now so that you can accurately predict where you'll hear them on Sunday.
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"You have to establish the running game." Football guys love this, even though running the football was about as popular this year as sitting alone in a high school cafeteria. You'll probably hear this about the Giants, even though the Giants haven't run the ball all year and it hurt them so much that they are in the NFC Championship Game.
"This guy's got a motor that just won't stop." Justin Smith of the 49ers and Jason Pierre-Paul of the Giants were the two best defensive linemen in the NFC this season. Both of them play games that make you wonder where they get their energy.
"Don't be misled by their record." The Giants are trying to become the first 9-7 Super Bowl entry in history. Joe Buck will use this point to tell you that the Giants of the last four games aren't the same Giants as the first 14 games.
"Eli Manning can make every throw." Which is what makes him a successful NFL quarterback.
"It'll take a full 60 minutes to win this game." Closely matched teams tend to play games that go down to the wire.
"This one's a real throwback." In an NFL that usually resembles flag football, the NFC title game features two teams who actually like to hit. That just makes it football to most of us, but the times they are a-changing.
"The Giants are riding a wave of momentum." Four straight wins is impressive. The 49ers have won the same number of games in a row and they won four more overall in the regular season.
"You have to take care of the football." Again, it's a game between closely matched teams, so turnovers figure to play a major role. The Giants and 49ers forced a ton of turnovers between them last week and they both won, so there's a pretty good point here.
"This game will be won in the trenches." This one really fits for Sunday since the play at the line of scrimmage is going to be crucial against two teams with great pass rushers. That doesn't mean there's not a better way to say it.
"These two teams are playing like there's no tomorrow." Because there isn't.
"Defense wins in the playoffs." This may be the theme of the broadcast given the way the Giants and 49ers played to advance to this game. Do not pay any attention to it if they are playing to face the Patriots in the Super Bowl. If the Ravens win, do not attempt to play a drinking game featuring this statement because it will leave you in need of a liver transplant.
There are plenty more of them, particularly since we haven't delved into the fact that these are two physical teams who will play a slobberknocker/bloodbath/war of attrition or anything else.