A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from October 16, 2011
“It’s not the X’s and O’s, it’s the Jimmys and Joes”

“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.
Google Books
Recruiting Confidential:
A father, a son, and big time college football

By David Claerbaut
Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade Pub.; Distributed by National Book Network
Pg. 159:
“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
Newsgroups: nebr.sports.unl
From: “Answerman”

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.
Google Books
Coach Yourself:
A Motivational Guide for Coaches and Leaders

By Dan Spainhour
Winston-Salem, NC: Educational Coaching and Business Communications
Pg. 171:
It’s not the x’s and o’s but the Johnnys and Joes that make the difference.
Google Books
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
Pg. 277:
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

Jeff Jacobs
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.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Sunday, October 16, 2011 • Permalink

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