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Poise.

The definition of poise, per dictionary dot com, provides no fewer than 12 annotations. They are:

1.    a state of balance or equilibrium, as from equality or equal distribution of weight; equipoise.
2.    a dignified, self-confident manner or bearing; composure; self-possession: to show poise in company.
3.    steadiness; stability: intellectual poise.
4.    suspense or wavering, as between rest and motion or two phases of motion: the poise of the tides.
5.    the way of being poised, held, or carried.
6.    the state or position of hovering: the poise of a bird in the air. -verb (used with object)
7.    to adjust, hold, or carry in equilibrium; balance evenly.
8.    to hold supported or raised, as in position for casting, using, etc.: to poise a spear.
9.    to hold or carry in a particular manner: She walked, carefully poising a water jug on her head.
10.    Obsolete. to weigh.
-verb (used without object)
11.    to rest in equilibrium; be balanced.
12.    to hover, as a bird in the air.
Quickly through this mess, I say,
  1. Does not adequately explain anything a quarterback does that wins football games. Frequently QBs successfully complete passes when their weight is distributed strangely. When this happens, keen football analysts say something along the lines of "Boy he wish he had that pass back..." ... when it is incomplete or stolen from the air, that is; otherwise they proclaim "What a dangerous throw" but then point out how "explosive" or "poised" the quarterback is who successfully completed such a risky maneuver.
  2. Cannot adequately explain what commenters demand it must, as there is no inherent dignity in completing a football pass. I refuse to admit that Chase Daniel excercised "poise" in any or all of his 440+ completions prior to the Kansas-Mizzou game. Confidence in one's self is so necessary to launching a football at 11 opposing athletic behemoths, that exist exclusively to poach said pigskin, whereas claiming confidence, composure, and "self-possession" -- whatever the fuck that means -- goes without saying when referencing College Football quarterbacks. It is akin to saying that CFB running backs express "footness" whenever they run the ball.
  3. The definition of "poise" should not refer to "intellectual poise." Webster, if I want to know what "poise" allegedly means, telling me that "intellectual poise" defines the word is of little use.
  4. Quite the opposite of the intended meaning when describing College quarterbacks. Especially gifted and "poise"d quarterbacks are those that lack wavering; "poise"y quarterbacks are the ones that lack wavering or suspension.
  5. What the deuce? See 3. Poise = "the way of being poised"????? That's descriptive.
  6. Quarterbacks do not hover.
  7. Poiselike quarterbacks only pass. No one ever says, after a handoff, "That guy showed a lot of poise in handing the ball to a much faster player."
  8. Perhaps, but I've never heard anyone describe poise as the way a quarterback held poised a football. In this game, it isn't so important where your fingers land on the laces so much as where the receiver puts the ball out of play.
  9. No comment.
  10. Obsolete, 'yotch.
  11. Verb; quarterbacks don't poise, they are poised.
  12. See above.
It has to be 2 and 3, and yet I still don't buy this as a proper explanation of what quarterbacks have or lack. Poise is a descriptive word that gets overused in important games to describe quarterbacks who do something that doesn't require compression of vocabulary to describe: If you face a pass rush and you successfully complete a difficult pass, you have poise. So, instead of saying "boy this kid showed a lot of poise!" Why not just say, "Wow, he got hit on that pass and still managed to complete it. A very good pass, if you ask me."

I do not think this is a meaningless discussion, though reader(s) have probably reached that conclusion by now. Calling a player "poised" isn't dramatically different from calling them "explosive", or any of a hundred bromides that plague the football landscape, and curing football entirely of vapid cliches is as easy as curing it of just one. Poise describes something that happens on the field that requires explanation. In the same way that calling a fast player one who possesses the quality of "tending or serving to explode" actually means nothing, so does this nonsense about quoting a QB's "poise". If they run fast, they accelerate across space quickly, SO SAY SO. If they pass the ball effectively even when opposing, larger players are tackling them, SAY SO.

</rant>