What Does Hike Mean In Football

If you have been around football or football fans you have certainly heard the term hike. This piece of football terminology is quite common but many fans new to the game of football do not know what it means.

The term hike in football has two different uses. A hike in football is a term used to describe the motion of the center passing the ball through his legs to the quarterback.

When a center does this he is “hiking” the ball. The term snap is usually used in this context but both words have the same meaning.

Additionally, the term hike is a verbal cue used by the quarterback to let his teammates know when he is going to snap the ball.

In football, the quarterback will yell out verbal cues to his teammates prior to snapping the ball.

These verbal cues have two purposes they are either a cadence or part of a fake snap count.


The cadence in football refers to the series of words a quarterback will yell before a play so that his team knows when he is going to hike the ball.

For example, a quarterback may say that he is going to snap the ball on the second “hike”. This means the quarterback can yell whatever he wants but until he says hike for the second time his teammates will know not to start the play.

When the quarterback says hike for the second time the team will know the play is starting. This way they can get a good start to the play by moving right as the ball is being snapped.

Cadences are used by every NFL team and ‘hike” is one of the common terms that is used within them.


Another way the term hike can be used on the football field is in a hard count. Similar to how these verbal cues are used to help your team they are also used to trick your opponents.

Throughout a game, a team will change up their verbal cues in order to trick their opponents. If a defender thinks he knows when the play is going to start he may jump offside when he hears the quarterback yell.

This is called a hardcount, the quarterback will yell out these cues in order to trick the defense into thinking the play is starting.

Hike is used in this context as it is one of the verbal cues teams use when snapping the ball. During football games, you may hear the quarterback yell hike in order to try and get the defense to commit a penalty.

Do Quarterbacks Have To Say Hike?

Now that you know how the term hike is used in football you may be wondering if this is a term that quarterbacks have to use. The answer to this question is no, quarterbacks are able to use any word they want when snapping the ball.

The most common terms used before the hike include white 80, hut, blue 80, and set.

So long as your teammates know which terms you are using in your snap count you are able to use any word you want. In most cases, teams stick with the classic words as it makes it easier for the team learn them.

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