"If you’re even, he’s leavin’” is a football expression meaning that if a defensive back is “even” with the wide receiver, then that wide receiver (who is often running at full gait) is “leavin’” that defensive back behind. The expression was popularly said about University of Arkansas halfback Lance Alworth. “‘When Allworth is even with ‘em, he’s leavin’ ‘em,’ said (Arkansas Coach Frank—ed.) Broyles after the game” was cited in a November 1960 newspaper story.
Hayden Fry wrote in Hayden Fry: A High Porch Picnic (2001), “I coined the expression, “When he’s even, he’s leavin’.’” However, Fry was the Arkansas quarterbacks coach in 1961, but the expression had been cited in print at least a year earlier.
Wikipedia: Lance Alworth
Lance Dwight Alworth (born August 3, 1940) is a former American football wide receiver. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He retired as a player after the 1972 season.
Wikipedia: Frank Broyles
John Franklin Broyles (born December 26, 1924) is a former American football player and coach, athletics administrator, and broadcaster. He served as the head football coach at the University of Missouri in 1957 and at the University of Arkansas from 1958 to 1976. Broyles also was Arkansas’ athletic director from 1974 until his retirement on December 31, 2007.
Wikipedia: Hayden Fry
John Hayden Fry (born February 28, 1929) is a former American football player and coach. He played college football for Baylor University. He served as the head coach at Southern Methodist University (1962–1972), North Texas State University, now the University of North Texas (1973–1978), and the University of Iowa (1979–1998), compiling a career college football record of 232–178–10. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2003.
20 November 1960, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Hogs Rip Tech, 34-6, Cinch Bowl Bid” by Bill Rives, sec. 2, pg. 1, cols. 2-3:
As evidence that they were taking the challenge of Texas Tech with sensible seriousness, the Razorbacks popped out a new play, one which Coach Frank Broyles had put in especially for this game.
It involved the fabulous halfback, Lance Alworth, and was one of those “even and leavin’” plays, as Broyles calls them. “When Allworth is even with ‘em, he’s leavin’ ‘em,” said Broyles after the game.
9 November 1974, San Diego (CA) Union, “Pacific Aztec Foe At Stadium” by Bill Center, pg. C-1, col. 2:
Of University of Pacific running back Willard Harrell, San Diego State head coach Claude Gilbert recently said:
“When he’s even, he’s leavin’.”
28 September 1976, Blytheville (AR) Courier News, “Even...but Leavin’?” (editorial), pg. 6, col. 2:
When Lance Alworth was a young halfback at the University of Arkansas, there was this saying about him which was highly descriptive and charmingly Arkie: “If he’s even, he’s leavin’,” meaning that if a defensive halfback could do no more than stay even with Alworth. the latter always seemed to have an edge which would pull away in a footrace to the goal line.
21 April 1985, Rockford (IL) Register-Star, “Draft,” pg. 7G, col. 2:
And when it comes to speed, if Vance is even, he’s leavin’.
A High Porch Picnic
By Hayden Fry with George Wine
Sports Publishing LLC (SportsPublishingLLC.com)
One of the greatest players I ever coached was Lance Alworth, an all-America tailback at Arkansas and an all-pro wide receiver in the NFL. He’s the closest thing to a racehorse I’ve seen on a football field. When he accelerated, turf would just fly. I coined the expression, “When he’s even, he’s leavin’,” which meant the quarterback should throw him the ball when he was even with the defensive back, because the DB wouldn’t stay with him long. We told the quarterbacks to just throw the ball so Lance could run under it.
Kennison’s touchdown keeps Chiefs on fast track.(Knight Ridder Newspapers)
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
October 12, 2003
Byline: Joe Posnanski
GREEN BAY, Wis. _ Eddie Kennison is fast. Really fast. He has always been really fast. He was a six-time track All-American at LSU. He won the NFL’s fastest man competition once.
“We don’t call him Fast Eddie,’ for nothing” fellow Chiefs wide receiver Johnnie Morton says.
“Eddie’s got that ‘If you’re even, he’s leavin’ speed,” Dante Hall says.
More Distant Memories:
Pro Football’s Best Ever Players of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s
By Danny Jones
Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse
They showcased their “even and leaving” offense with 9.6 sprinter Lance Alworth. This meant when Lance was even with you, he’s leaving you—by running away.
If you’re even he’s leavin #barrysanders
12:51 AM - 1 Jul 2011
“If you’re even, he’s leavin’!” Julio Jones for the touchdown! GO FALCONS! #atljax11
7:36 PM - 15 Dec 2011
Giants 10 Keys to Victory vs. the Lions
Posted Dec 20, 2013
3. If you’re even, he’s leavin’. Lions running back Reggie Bush is the X-factor on Sunday, both receiving and rushing out of the backfield. The Giants need to set the edge and force him back to the inside.
When will d-men learn? When skating with Tyler Johnson, if you’re even, he’s leavin’ (you… in the dust).
6:30 PM - 18 Apr 2014
Speed Was the All-Consuming Obsession of Al Davis’ Raiders
By Dan Pompei , NFL Columnist Apr 30, 2014
To understand the Raiders’ obsession with speed, you have to go back to 1972. That’s when the Raiders drafted Cliff Branch out of Colorado in the fourth round, even though he had caught only 13 passes the season before. What attracted Davis was Branch’s time of 10.0 in the 100 meters in the NCAA Championships.
“He was the original if he’s even, he’s leavin’ guy,” Wolf said. “It was unbelievable how fast he was.”
Just one problem: Branch couldn’t catch.