Posted on: January 4th, 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:

A punt is a type of kick during a football game that happens after a team fails to gain a first down.  The team will punt the ball back to the opponents giving the other team a chance to advance down the field.

Teams don’t want to punt the ball. It means they weren’t very effective at executing their game plan and, as a result, give the ball back to the other team.


Business Application: In business, when you “punt” something you’re generally giving up on trying to find a solution or trying to execute a strategy and turning it over to someone else.

This is actually being talked about in relation to the ‘fiscal cliff’ deal in Washington DC.  Here’s an example:


*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.