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Filed directly under trademark law run rampant--and who says geekery and football don't run hand in hand?--the NFL is seeking to trademark the phrase "The Big Game," a phrase with a dual history in the pro and collegiate spheres. (HT: John.)

Because of the inanity of S*p*r Bowl copyright laws, everyone from Schleppy's Pizza to Best Buy attempts to cash in on selling goods associated with the game by referring to it as "The Big Game" prior to S*p*r Bowl Sunday, a curious bit of verbiage your ear may have picked up as peculiar periphrasis in the rather direct world of advertising. The reason? Not being Official Sponsors of The S*p*r Bowl, they cannot use the proper name, and thus duck under the bar by simply referring to "The B#g G#m3."

Football post-trademark laws: we were going to use this stock image, but someone's got the copyright.

(Memo from EDSBS LEGAL: the NFL has previewed this post and requested the removal of all trademarked language. We'll put it in language your puny non-lawyer brain can understand: President Camacho suggests you comply, vato. That goes for any references to the NFL's championship game, the B#g G#me, or any other language they own. We'll proof this for your protection afterwards. For reference, see NFL White Paper #48: Rules Regarding the English Language. All references hereafter refer to it.)

The B*g G#m3 (NFL White Paper #48) in collegiate terms refers to the historical tussle between Stanford and Cal, a name that through recent years has been applied more sarcastically than in reality. Nevertheless, the two f00tba77 (ibid.) t*amz (ibid.) have been playing together under the moniker since 1902, according to Cal f00tba77 (ibid.) historian Ron Fimrite. (Everyone's got their specialties, we suppose. Imagine if your IRB proposal involved getting board permission to interview Steve Mariucci. Geeking out done, we continue.)

Cal and Stanford are countering the NFL claim by running to the arms of Collegiate Licensing Inc., our neighbors here in Atlanta who play the unusual part of hero here. They will likely grant the game its own brand name as the "Ir0n B0w7" and "Teh R3d R1v3r Sh00t0ut" (hey, just being careful! one angry legal entity at a time!) have, and then k1ckk0ff the legal fireworks from there. It'll be a tough issue to tAck73, (ibid.) sure, but that's what lawyers are for.

Our prediction: the NFL gets up by a few t0uchd0wnZ (ibid), the Cal/Standford reps fight back with ferocious off3ns3 (ibid.), and the whole g@m3 comes down to a legal f13lD g0al (how many times are you going to make us do this? Ibid.) Then, B00m! (ibid.) The B*g G#m3 lives again.

By the way: the first google image result for "The Big Game?" Not what you'd think. At. All.

The Big Game Lip Grabber. Now suing the NFL for naming rights.