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September 17, 2008

Playing With Whose Money?

When the Broncos decided to go for two when trailing by one at the end of their game with the Chargers this past Sunday—an unusual decision, that—it left some commentators scratching their heads. A favored explanation was that after a blown call favored the Broncos, Coach Mike Shanahan figured he might as well go for two, seeing as he really wasn't supposed to win the game, anyway. In other words, Shanahan was "playing with house money."

Denver Broncos v Arizona Cardinals

Mike Shanahan, gambling man

House money? As King Kaufman notes, the metaphor is silly. But reporters, pundits, and bloggers seem to like it.

The New York Post: "With everyone in love with the Cubs this year (warning: John Cusack will be this October's Ben Affleck), the Mets are playing with house money, and not with a skyscraper of expectations sitting on their backs like last year."

Jets Insider: "Playing With House Money: Is there anyone, not including the overly optimistic Jets fan, that gives the Jets a chance this Saturday versus the Pittsburgh Steelers?" (from January 2005)

The metaphor's not limited to sports, either: there's "NYCHA Rezzes Playing With House Money" and "Fox: Playing with 'House' money" (OK, so that last one is a reference to a TV show, but still).







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