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The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Super Bowl primer for journalists and other know-it-all types

Whether you have tickets to the big game or not, be mindful when writing about the Super Bowl. Photo by The Associated Press
The Associated Press, in an effort to better prepare journalists and anyone who cares, has issued a Super Bowl style guide based on its wildly popular AP Stylebook. Below are some highlights:
  • Postseason vs. playoffs — Playoffs refers only to the wild-card, divisional round and AFC and NFC conference championship games. 
  • Use figures for yardage i.e. 5-yard gain
  • end zone is two words, lower case
  • halftime — one word, also lower case
  • kick off (v.) and kickoff (n., adj.) "The Giants will kick off to the Patriots, as New York prepares for the kickoff" 
  •  offside — no s. Americans tend to add 's' to words (and stores) which don't need them.
  • sideline, on the sidelines
  • All-Pro is a term designated for AP first-team All-Pros. A Pro Bowl selection does not by itself make a player an All-Pro. 
  • coach, owner and general manager — all lower case. People have a tendency to capitalize ALL titles.
  • "Hail Mary" is to be avoided. AP suggests "desperation pass."
  • "end zone" not pay dirt. 
  • There's no such thing as a "forward lateral." A lateral is tossed sideways or backward. 
  • A couple favorites from my memory banks: Super Bowl is two words, capitalized. Always list the winning score first i.e. the Giants won the Super Bowl, 22-17.
So now you've been warned. Don't go making a Facebook invite to your Superbowl party, because I won't come.


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