I’d never heard the term until this year, but now it’s what all the TV announcers call what used to be called the “first down marker” or the “first down line.” I don’t know who decides to change terminology, but it seems to come about almost suddenly & universally.
There are other terms that have fallen out of favor over the years. There used to be a penalty called “clipping.” I remember “backfield in motion,” too.
Length, as I interpret it, is more than how tall they are. Long arms play a role. A 6-7 guy with long arms may have the same length as a 6-11 guy whose arms are not quite as long.
Control is the ability to throw strikes. Command is the ability to put the ball where you want it. A strike that is right down the middle shows good control, but it’s also going to get the pitcher a new ball for the next pitch because the old ball is in the left field bleachers. A pitcher with good command is putting his strikes in the corners where they won’t be hit hard.
Jeff nailed the length issue. Nolan used to talk about length a lot. It includes wing-span. Personally, I have good length, as my arms are longer than normal for my height. Not that it matters one whit since I’ve shrunk. (I used to be 5’4", but I know I’m probably 5’3" or less now.)
I’ve heard announcers refer to the line to gain for several years now. It is relatively new usage.
I have also heard it for years. But probably not so much (as it is used now) until perhaps a decade or so ago.
I’m only speculating, but I believe that’s because of the now common usage of ex-officials to chime in on replays during televised games. I think that “line to gain” is a part of the lingo that is common within the officiating world, and the inclusion of commentary from these former referees has probably elevated that term in common vernacular.
Well, if you & Marty have both heard it for years, it’s obviously been around., but I sure haven’t heard it. If I’ve heard it, I don’t remember it, but it’s becoming almost the only way announcers refer to the “first down marker” now.
As for “trickeration” I’ve grown to hate that non-word. It was cute the first two or three times I heard it, but it lost that cuteness several thousand times back.
I wish they’d start valueing an athlete’s girth / waistline. Might have gotten me in the conversation 35 years ago. “He runs a 5.2 40 and isn’t quick but he’s got solid girth; thus he’s hard to wrap up.” In that case I coulda been a contender!