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Taking the apple

Posted by Bob McCabe on December 08, 2005

I was reading a sports column about the National Football League by Peter King and noticed a weird expression - one I had not previously witnessed. I checked this site and didn't see it mentioned here. Has anyone heard of the phrase "take the apple"? Is he being clever, and making a play on some other expression? I get the idea of what he's saying, but I definitely don't understand the expression. Here's the expression, with context.

Jay Feely field goals missed in the last eight days: four. Jay Feely field goals missed in the previous 344 days: three. I don't believe a thing from the [New York] Giants about their support for kicker Jay Feely. They can say whatever they want, but you know they're all thinking the same thing: Is this guy taking the apple at the crucial time of the season.