For years Peyton Manning would yell Omaha prior to snapping the ball. Many football fans at home caught onto this trend but it wasn’t until after his retirement did he reveal what this term actually meant.
For Peyton Manning and the Broncos the term Omaha meant “we are going with plan B”. Essentially Peyton explained that sometimes in the huddle they would call two plays. One of which would be the play they are planning on going with. And the other being the “plan B” play.
Peyton went on to say. “The defense shifts late and there’s just a few seconds left on the play clock, and so ‘Omaha’ meant we’re going to Plan B and this ball’s about to be snapped”
If Manning and the Broncos came out of the huddle and found the defence was aligned in an unfavourable way they would have a second option.
NFL defenses know to disguise their plays for as long as possible. So it was common that the true defensive alignment isn’t shown until the last possible second. That is why Peyton’s Omaha was also part of the snap count.
A snap count refers to the audible signals a quarterback gives to their teammates to let them know they are going to snap the ball. An audible is a verbal signal to teammates to let them know a play is being changed.
The term Omaha in football seems to work as both. Since this “Plan B” would have to be enacted so quickly this term lets the players know the play has changed and it is about to begin.
Peyton And Omaha
Peyton joked over the years about the term Omaha in football. Fans watching the sport became quite interested in this phrase in particular once the NFL began to mic up quarterbacks.
While still in his playing days Peyton joked that Omaha was a running play and that its meaning depended on the wind, jersey colour etc…
He went on to say he has visited Omaha since popularizing the term. The local businesses in the city actually raised $70,000 for his charity. This was due to the national spotlight they had come under since he popularized the term.
Other Quarterbacks Saying Omaha In Football
One thing that does need to be made clear is that Peyton’s use of Omaha is not the same as other quarterbacks around the league. When Peyton choose the term Omaha he did so because it is a “rhythmic three-syllable word”.
When other quarterbacks around the league use this term it is likely just a homage to Peyton. They are only using this term as a verbal cue. What the term means for other teams is impossible for us to know but there are few likely scenarios.
Using this term as part of the snap count is the most likely use of the term Omaha in football. Quarterbacks would simply yell this term to let their team know they are about to hut the ball. This could also be used in a hardcount.
The term Omaha could also be used as an audible. Teams use these verbal cues to signify they are changing the play.
And of course, there is a small chance that the NFL teams using this term are using it the same way Peyton did. Having a “plan b” verbal cue isn’t uncommon in the league. You will often hear qbs yell “kill, kill, kill” which means to cancel the play and go with their other option.
If teams are using the term Omaha in this way then they are using it the same way Peyton did throughout his career.