"It’s not the X’s and O’s, it’s the Jimmys and Joes” means that it’s not necessarily the plays ("X’s and O’s") that a coach runs that win games, it’s the quality of the players ("Jimmys and Joes") who run those plays. The saying has been cited in print since at least 1991 and is popularly used in college football.
20 November 1991, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Champion Irvine Tries to Focus on Road Ahead” by Elliott Teaford, Sports, pg. C6:
“We have a saying, It’s not the X’s and O’s, it’s the Jimmys and the Joes,’” Henigan said. “We have fine talent.”
13 September 1997, Wichita (KS) Eagle, “Southeast’s big plays too tough for Kapaun,” pg. 5C:
“That’s Jimmies and Joes. Not Xs and Os,” Johnson said.
14 October 1997, Indianapolis (IN) Star, “Leadership keys Hanover grid success” by Phillip B. Wilson, pg. C3:
“It’s not the Xs and Os, it’s the Jimmys and Joes,” said 16th-year coach Wayne Perry, repeating a popular explanation.
A father, a son, and big time college football
By David Claerbaut
Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade Pub.; Distributed by National Book Network
“It’s not X’s and O’s, it’s Jimmys and Joes,” said Monken, “and that’s why we’re interested in you, James.”
20 March 2003, Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard, “Manhattan coach channels energy into his team” by Mike Waters, pg. C5, col. 3:
“It’s not about the X’s and O’s,” he (Bobby Conzalez, basketball coach of the Manhattan Jaspers—ed.) says, “it’s about the Jimmys and Joes. It always comes down to players.”
Google Groups: nebr.sports.unl
Date: Fri, 30 May 2003 01:55:43 -0600
Local: Fri, May 30 2003 2:55 am
Subject: New NU basketball aide known for recruiting
In football they say it is not the x’s and o’s but the Jimmys and Joes.
A Motivational Guide for Coaches and Leaders
By Dan Spainhour
Winston-Salem, NC: Educational Coaching and Business Communications
It’s not the x’s and o’s but the Johnnys and Joes that make the difference.
Three and Out:
Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the crucible of college football
By John U. Bacon
New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
As the veteran coaches say, it’s not Xs and Os, it’s Jimmys and Joes.
Hartford (CT) Courant
Credit The Defense For This Big Finish
This Time, Opponent Can’t Pull Off The Comeback
October 16, 2011
There’s an old saying around the chalkboard. It’s not the X’s and O’s. It’s the Jimmys and Joes.
New York City • Sports/Games • (0) Comments • Saturday, October 15, 2011 • Permalink