Posted on: January 25th, 2013 by Jen Mueller

Sports metaphors can be effective descriptors at work – if everyone is on the same page and understands the correct meaning.  Each week we’ll take a look at a familiar sports phrase or metaphor in business, identify its origin, explain its meaning and demonstrate how to use it in business.


Sports phrase: Out-kicked the Coverage

This phrase comes from football and could apply to a kicker or punter. When a team is a situation to kick the ball down the field there’s strategy involved beyond just telling the kicker to kick it as far as he can.  If that happens and none of his teammates are there to make a tackle and cover the kick the advantage is lost.

This is what happens when a player out-kicks his coverage.  He didn’t follow the plan, left everyone else in the dust and ended up giving the advantage to the opponent.

This phrase has a negative connotation because it takes away the team element and turns a phase of the game that should be a positive into a negative.


Social/Slang Application:  The phrase “out-kicked his coverage” is used often in social settings to describe a man who is with a more attractive woman.


Business Application: In business you could say someone “out-kicked the coverage” if they made a hasty decision and didn’t allow others time to strategize on the plan.  Much like in football, this erodes teamwork and often causes a loss of momentum.  The person who “outkicked the coverage” is now on an island and making decisions that others are not up to speed on.

Here’s an example:

  • We were getting ready to extend the contract another 5 years, but Schefter spoke out of turn and and agreed to a 3 year deal instead.  He really out-kicked his coverage on that one and now we’re scrambling to make up the difference.


*Take these definitions with a grain of salt.  They’re based on years of being a fan and more than a decade in sports broadcasting and Jen’s status as America’s Expert Talker.