Football terminology can be confusing, especially when one term has multiple meanings. One such term that often leaves football fans confused is snap count.
A snap count in football refers to the number of plays a player is on the field for during the game. Snap count also refers to the audible signals a quarterback gives their team to let them know the play is about to begin.
What Is A Snap Count For Players?
A snap count for players refers to the number of plays that a player will be on the field for over a set period of time.
For example, if a player is placed on a snap count this means there is a set number of plays that they will be on the field for in the upcoming game. This is also referred to as a pitch count.
A player can be placed on a snap count for several different reasons. When a player is placed on one they will usually have their snaps spread evenly throughout the game.
In most cases, a player will be placed on a snap count when they are intended to return from injury.
When coming back from an injury in football it is rare to get right back to playing at full speed.
Additionally, the chance of injury is higher when a player returns from injury. By limiting them to a reduced number of snaps you can ensure the player participates but does so at a slower rate than in a regular game.
These players are also often not in game shape due to their time off due to injury. This makes it difficult to play a full game of snaps from a physical perspective.
Another reason a team may put a player on a snap count is when they are new to the team. Whether it’s an in-season trade or a free agent signing a few players may join a team throughout the year.
When this happens it will usually take them some time to develop chemistry with teammates and learn the playbook. For this reason, these players are often placed on a limited number of snaps for their first game with the team.
Starting The Play
The other way the term snap count is used in football is when snapping the ball to start a play. In the huddle the quarterback will communicate the count to let his teammates know when the play is going to start.
For example, a quarterback may say “hut on three” is the snap count. This means the third time the quarterback says “hut” the ball is going to be snapped.
By using this audible cue the quarterback’s teammates will be able to know exactly when the play is going to start. The center who snaps the ball will also know what he needs to hear in order to snap the ball to the quarterback.
On some occasions, quarterbacks will even utilize hard counts. Hard counts are essentially fake snap counts that are used in order to get the opposing team’s players to jump offside.
Jumping offside can earn the offense five free yards or even better a free play.