flex the needle

This one was found in an article by Joseph Goodman on AL.com, discussing the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) new football coach hire:

“Former UAB coach Bill Clark retired suddenly before the 2022 season. It left the program he built from scratch in a bizarre and vulnerable place before the move to the American Athletic Conference. UAB needed badly to flex the needle with its next football coach, and this intriguing gambit does exactly that.”

This is a mashup of “move the needle” (to cause a noticeable change in something” and “flex (one’s) muscle(s)” (to demonstrate one’s influence or power). Flexing a needle could be dangerous. A shout out to David Stephens for spotting this one and sending it in.


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