Are you watching a football game and wondering why some of the players on the field have a green sticker on their helmets? If so you are in the right place.
The green sticker on a football helmet means that the stickered helmet has a radio device built inside. Only one player on the offense and one player on the defense are allowed to have an active radio in their helmet.
The radios are used by the coaching staff in order to relay information to the players. Previously, players would rotate each play and would bring in plays from the sideline to their teammates.
By using the radios in helmets teams no longer have to worry about rotating players.
The coaching staff is only able to talk into the mic for a limited amount of time. From the start of the play clock down until the fifteen-second mark of the play, clock is the allotted time in which the radio will be turned on.
This allows the coaching staff to relay in the play as well as give some initial reads of the defense.
By cutting the radio at the fifteen-second mark the league ensures that coaches will not be able to talk their quarterback through the entire process.
Quarterbacks and middle linebackers are the positions that will typically have these mics built into their helmets.
What Is Said Through In Helmet Radios?
Now that we know the rules and purpose of the green stickers on helmets let’s get into what is actually said through these radios.
One thing we know for sure is that in-helmet radios are used to allow both the offense and defense to call plays.
As we stated earlier teams used to rotate players in order to bring plays into the huddle. This required teams to make a substitution each play and bring on a player who had been told the upcoming play by the coaching staff.
Now when watching a game you will notice that no player will come from the sideline and relay the play to the teammates.
Instead the quarterback will walk into the huddle and communicate the play to his teammates.
This is because all plays are now sent to the huddle via the radio. Both the offense and defense call their plays based on the information they receive from the radio.
In especially loud environments you may notice the quarterback covering his earholes in an attempt to hear the play call more clearly.
Another way in which players and coaches will communicate through their radio is to call audibles. Audibles are a change of play that is called once the players are already on the field.
In these situations, the coaching staff may pick up on something regarding the defense. For example, if the coaches see that there is an opportunity to exploit the defense with a pass they may switch to a passing play.
The coach will relay this to the quarterback through the mic and the quarterback will then tell the players on the field.
Mental Coaching For The Quarterback
We cannot say for sure that the in helmet radios are used to give advice to the quarterback but you have to assume it happens.
If a young quarterback is struggling or making mental errors it may be helpful to get some advice from the coach. Advice as simple as “take a deep breath” or “take what the defense gives you” are the sorts of things you could imagine a coach saying to his players.
Either way, the inclusion of radios in helmets allows for a much better medium for the team to communicate through.
Now you know if you see a green sticker on a football helmet it is because that player has a built-in speaker.
Do college football players have speakers in their helmet?
Now that you know NFL players with green stickers have a speaker in their helmet you may be wondering if this technology is used in college football.
As of writing this article the NCAA is still not using speakers in helmets. The NCAA has toyed with this idea but has not yet made it legal in college football.
With the success of it’s use in the NFL I believe it is only a matter of time until the NCAA follows suit and starts putting speakers in helmets.
Remember green stickers on helmet represent the one player on the offense or defense that has a speaker in their helmet. This speaker allows them to hear instructions and play calls from the coaching staff.