"giving them the Heisman"?
April 6, 2008 2:12 AM   Subscribe

In this blog post on Information Arbitrage the author uses the expression "giving them the Heisman". The meaning is pretty clear from the context but I've never come across the expression before. Can anyone shed any light on it?

The full paragraph is:
"Yahoo's lame tactics have only been outshone by Microsoft's inexplicable passivity. Microsoft has been holding a straight flush from Day 1, but have acted as if they've got ace high. But even the sleeping giant can be awakened, and it was when they rolled over, looked at the calendar and realized that Yahoo has been giving them the Heisman for two months now. As I said from the beginning, Microsoft shouldn't pay a dime over what is due Yahoo shareholders in the original offer. It is full and fair, and potentially even more so given the uncertain economic environment. They will likely scare Yahoo to the table and prompt Microsoft to offer $1-$2 a share more just to keep the peace and get the deal done."
posted by patricio to Writing & Language (13 answers total)
I haven't encountered the expression either, but I'm guessing it's from the pose of the figure in the Heisman trophy, with his hand extended, palm out, warding-off an oncoming opponent (thusly). So, Yahoo isn't metaphorically giving Microsoft the Heisman trophy, it's metaphorically giving Microsoft the Heisman gesture. Which is slightly more polite than giving it the finger/bird.
posted by mumkin at 2:31 AM on April 6, 2008

It's this Heisman trophy, by the way. Sorry, didn't check your profile for location until now. It's a big deal in the world of US Football, if you were unaware.
posted by mumkin at 2:36 AM on April 6, 2008

Thanks, you must be right. I know about the Heisman - a year in NJ high school ensured that - but I didn't think about the form of the statue itself.
posted by patricio at 3:21 AM on April 6, 2008

We used it a lot in college (Massachusetts, early 90's) to mean "to reject or rebuff."

As in:

Dude did you see Flounder talking to Jessica last night? She totally Heismaned his lame ass.

It's a reference to the righteous stiff-arm the guy in the trophy is executing.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:12 AM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

Which is slightly more polite than giving it the finger/bird.

It's not an act of defiance, the stiff arm is a reaction move that when properly executed can help the running back break free from a tackle. But, probably even more important, a good stiff arm from a running back will send a message to the defense that tackling won’t be as easy as first thought.

The metaphor with Yahoo is precise.
posted by three blind mice at 6:05 AM on April 6, 2008

yeah, we used it a LOT (in SoCal) in the early 90s, too. exactly the way joseph gurl says. and i always thought it was a good fit for the situation.

we would go to the club and of course most of us would try to pick up on girls. when the rejection was particularly embarrassing or decisive, we would say 'oh damn, that chick just gave him the fucking heisman.' or something similar - mostly making fun of him.

heismans were usually bound to be mentioned at work the next day.
posted by gcat at 6:20 AM on April 6, 2008

As some corrobative evidence from popular culture, I have definitely heard Heisman used to mean rejection: here is a recently popular rap song called "Do The Heizman" that goes together with a dance of the same name.

"Shawty fine, breath stank (Do the Heizman on dat ho)
Tryin' to holla, no bank (Do the Heizman on dat ho)"

posted by pumpkin11 at 6:52 AM on April 6, 2008

Not to be confused with 'giving them the business'.
posted by toomuchpete at 8:06 AM on April 6, 2008

This is a common expression among my peers. It refers to the Heisman trophy, which shows a football player with an arm outstretched to ward off defenders. The idea is that someone who is "giving the Heisman" is holding someone/something away from them.
posted by browse at 8:26 AM on April 6, 2008

Thanks for this post, which introduced me to a new expression! N.b.: The old term for the pose was "the huck 'n' buck."
posted by languagehat at 9:39 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Local (NC) band Johnny Quest had The Heisman back in '92.
posted by Dean King at 9:58 AM on April 6, 2008

I'd just like to point out that Urban Dictionary has several definitions related to Heisman, though the context of the statement you're asking about is vastly different than how it is used in the song pumpkin11 pointed out. The song is Crank Dat [Superman].
posted by PinkButterfly at 10:02 AM on April 6, 2008

Once upon a time (early 90s) there was a white-boy-funk-metal party band from North Carolina called Johnny Quest that has sort of a regional hit with a song called "The Heisman" -- sample lyric: "you. should. give. that. dude. the heisman!" Of course, the crowd is required to yell "the heisman!" each time this line comes up in the song. Good times.

Anyway, you can hear it here if you feel the need.
posted by spilon at 5:02 PM on April 6, 2008

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