Elvis Patterson was a cornerback who first played for the New York Giants football team in 1984. Giants coach Bill Parcells nicknamed him “Toast” that year because Patterson frequently got “burned” by wide receivers for big plays. According to a New York (NY) Times story on July 29, 1985:
“One day in practice, when Patterson made a mistake and allowed a touchdown pass, Parcells muttered, ‘’He’s like toast. He gets burned all the time.’’ Since then, Patterson has been known as Toast.”
Patterson accepted the “Toast” nickname as a claim to fame and had a good NFL career (on two different Super Bowl-winning teams) despite it. Many other defensive backs have also been called “Toast.”
Wikipedia: Elvis Patterson
Elvis Vernell “Toast” Patterson (born October 21, 1960 in Bryan, Texas) is a former American football defensive back who played ten seasons in the National Football League, mainly for the New York Giants. He played in Super Bowl XXI for the Giants. He then played for the San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Raiders and Dallas Cowboys. He retired after playing in Super Bowl XXVIII as a part of the Cowboys’ winning team.
Patterson’s nickname of “Toast” is a rather unflattering one that was given to him by Bill Parcells during his days as a Giant. The name comes from Patterson’s knack for allowing receivers to make big plays while he was covering them.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
colloq. (orig. U.S.). A person or thing that is defunct, dead, finished, in serious trouble, etc. Freq. in proleptic use, esp. in you’re (also I’m, we’re, etc.) toast: you (I, we, etc.) will soon be dead, in trouble, etc. Cf. history n.
The lines in quot. 1983 do not in fact appear in the U.S. film Ghostbusters as released in 1985, since a considerable amount of the dialogue is ad-libbed. The actual words spoken by Venkman (played by Bill Murray) as he prepares to fire a laser-type weapon, are, ‘This chick is toast’; this is prob. the origin of the proleptic construction which has gained particular currency.
1983 D. Aykroyd & H. Ramis Ghostbusters (film script, third draft) 123 Venkman..: Okay. That’s it! I’m gonna turn this guy into toast.
1985 Omaha (Nebraska) World-Herald 5 May b2/2 Shake, Fedya..because you’re toast!
1989 C. Hiaasen Skin Tight (1990) xxiv. 264/1 I’m calling my banker in the Caymans and having him read the balance in my account. If it’s not heavier by twenty-five, you’re toast.
New York (NY) Times
GIANTS’ PATTERSON FILLING IN
By FRANK LITSKY
Published: July 29, 1985
A year ago, Elvis Patterson, a rookie free agent, struggled before he made the Giants’ season-opening roster. This year, he is struggling to become a starter, at least until Mark Haynes arrives.
Toast of the Team
Patterson is one of those people. If he becomes consistent, he will go a long way toward solving the maze. He may also shed the nickname Parcells gave him last year.
One day in practice, when Patterson made a mistake and allowed a touchdown pass, Parcells muttered, ‘’He’s like toast. He gets burned all the time.’’ Since then, Patterson has been known as Toast.
‘’I don’t mind it,’’ he said. ‘’I think it’s very funny. It was a motivation thing. I don’t take it personally. Every cornerback is going to get beat sometime. It’s the nature of the game, so when you practice you’ve got to have a little fun. When I make a good play, I say something funny to the coach.’’
Google News Archive
30 September 1985, The Day (New London, CT), pg. C1, col. 1:
This time the “Toast” isn’t burned
by Jim Hodges
PHILADELPHIA—Bill Parcells looked accusingly, then stared at his tormentors through eyes that smiled with the success of the day’s work.
“I don’t know how you can criticize a guy who’s been playing like an all-star,” said the head coach of the New York Giants. “They haven’t caught a pass in his area in a long time.”
The media didn’t dub Elvis Patterson “Toast” all those weeks ago in a training camp where as much attention was focused on absentees as those bodies reporting for duty; it was Parcells who nicked Patterson’s name. “It’s because he gets burned so often,” he explained, as though amplification was needed.
New York (NY) Times
PLAYERS; GIANTS’ PATTERSON QUICK TO RECOVER
By Gerald Eskenazi
Published: January 7, 1986
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.— Elvis Patterson had to smile yesterday when he heard that the Bears’ Dennis McKinnon had made fun of him. That smile is a tribute to Patterson’s recuperative powers - and his confidence.
For Patterson was the Giants’ defensive back who yielded the only two touchdowns the Bears’ offense scored on Sunday to oust the Giants from the playoffs. Both touchdowns were scored by the man Patterson was defending: McKinnon.
After the victory, McKinnon boasted, ‘’I didn’t have toast for breakfast, I had it for dinner.’’ McKinnon knew that Patterson’s nickname was ‘’Toast,’’ hung on him good-naturedly by the Giants’ coach, Bill Parcells, because ‘’Elvis gets burned so much.’’
New York (NY) Times
PATTERSON TRUE TO PREDICTION
By MIKE JENSEN, Special to the New York Times
Published: October 25, 1987
SAN DIEGO, Oct. 21— A curious thing about Elvis Patterson is that he answers your questions before you ask them.
The man known as Toast because he was burned so often by receivers delivered in the final minute last Sunday.
Village Voice (New York, NY)
The Ghost of Toast
Tuesday, Oct 20 1998
In the late 1980s, then-Giants coach Bill Parcells nicknamed former Big Blue defensive back Elvis Patterson “Toast” due to Patterson’s tendency to allow big plays. Patterson has since retired, but his legacy has haunted the team this season at the Meadowlands, where New York lost to the Atlanta Falcons Sunday night, 34-20.
Bill Parcells Admits,Elvis(The Toast)Patterson’s Name is good ,givien by him!
Uploaded on Sep 13, 2011
My goodness and the Toast Award goes to every cornerback for IU… Do we need a better defensive scheme or new coaches or better players?
12:28 PM - 22 Oct 2011
“@AdamSchefter: Former Cowboys cornerback Terrance Newman officially has agreed to terms with the Bengals."They can have “burnt toast"newman
10:53 AM - 11 Apr 2012
Keenan Allen cooks Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas for toast. 43-yard touchdown.
3:42 PM - 8 Dec 2013
Worst Eagles cornerback ever? Nnamdi, Toast Jenkins or Bradley Fletcher?
4:06 PM - 20 Dec 2014