The Zorn Vocab: "Mr. Official"
I can find only three published instances in the past 12 months where a head coach in any sport has used the phrase "Mr. Official." Oh sure, you can find lots of humorous-type writers dropping in that phrase during fake dialog between players and referees, but you just don't see head coaches actually saying it.
Except for Jim Zorn, who has now used that title at least three times in his various press conferences this season. Each time, I've laughed out loud.
Concerning Ladell Betts's fumble last week: "Ladell tried to explain it away [to me] and talk to Mr. Official, but it wasn't going to be explained away," Zorn said. "It was definitely a fumble."
Concerning a timeout against Dallas the week before: "We had a tight end, four wide receivers, that was supposed to be it. Well, Ladell went in, because he saw Clinton coming out. And nobody saw the signal from the sideline of what our personnel group was. So we screwed it up. What happened was on the next play, as we got the right personnel group in, Mr. Official started the clock right away, ok? And as we tried to get the next play in the clock was running down, and I had to use a timeout then. Livid, believe me."
Concerning Durant Brooks's weird fake snap in September: "The official, Mr. Official was standing over the ball," Zorn said. "And [Brooks] asked for the ball. And, you know, I was thinking to myself, 'Why are you asking for the ball?' It was like we iced our own kicker. We iced ourselves. And then we missed the field goal. So I was pretty bent out of shape."
So add it to Staying Medium, Playing Violently, Going to Heroics, Acting Suddenly, "Ab-so-LOOO-tly," Hip Hip Hooray and the rest as staples of the Zorn lexicon. And so, the origins of Mr. Official?
"I just, I'm trying to show them respect," Zorn said. "You know, I don't want to call him 'Bob.' You know, 'When Bob called the play....' So I'm trying to show them respect, number 1, and then 'Mr. Official' because all these guys have different positions as well. You know, it could have been the umpire, it could have been the ref, it could have been the back judge. So I'm just using kind of a third person, calling this guy by name by calling him Mr. Official. That's all."
I asked Zorn whether used the term during his playing days; "Ab-so-LOOO-tly!" he said, which was an appropriate response.
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