Have you ever watched a football game on Sunday and wondered why the quarterbacks seem to yell blue eighty and green eighty over and over. If you thought to yourself yes then you are not alone. Every year tons of NFL fans head online the find the answer to this question.
The reason quarterbacks yell blue 80 and green eighty before a play is because these are audible signals to the rest of the offense. In other words, blue 80 and green 80 are code words used by the offense to communicate.
These code words can take on several different meanings but in most cases, they are used to let the offensive players know when to start the play.
Main Reasons Quarterbacks Yell Before The Play
So now we know that the quarterback says these things before in order to communicate with the teammates, but what exactly are these players talking about?
The main reasons a quarterback is going to communicate before a play are as follows: To start the play, to change the play, to describe the defense.
Starting The Play
Starting the play is the most common reason for quarterbacks to say these sorts of signals. When a quarterback alerts his teammates the play is about to start using a code word this is called a cadence.
The cadence is agreed upon beforehand in the huddle. These players will then listen for the cadence and start the play at the agreed-upon time.
By using a cadence the offensive players will know when a play is starting and the defense will not. Additionally, this cadence may include other signals involved with starting the play.
On some plays, a receiver will move across laterally across the field into a new position, and then the ball will be snapped after the quarterback says another codeword.
In these plays, there will be a code word that lets the receiver know it’s time to start moving. As well as another code word that lets the center know to snap the ball.
This is why you may hear several phrases yelled by the quarterback before the ball is snapped.
Oftentimes the word used to alert the center to snap the ball is going to be said several times. For example, the quarterback may say the count is on three this play.
He will then proceed to get into a position and yell hut, hut, hut. Since the count is on three the center will snap the ball when he hears the third hut.
Hut is a common word used in situations but NFL teams use a large variety of terms for this purpose.
Saying the keyword multiple times before snapping the ball makes it more difficult for the defensive players to get a jump on the snap.
Changing The Play
Another reason that a quarterback may yell prior to the snap is to change the play. When a quarterback takes the field with his intended play he will first look at the defense.
When looking at the defensive formation he may notice a few things. First, the defense could look susceptible to the play they have picked, at this point, the quarterback will carry on with the intended play.
Or he may see that the defense is set up in a formation that will make it very difficult to run his intended play. At this point the quarterback is going to want to call an audible.
This means he will yell out a code word to his teammates letting them know he is running a different play. Each team will have plays ready for this scenario. This way the quarterback and his offense will all be on the same page.
Additionally, when a quarterback is eyeing up the defense he may notice a weakness. For example, he could see that his star receiver has one on one coverage against a weak cornerback.
A situation like this can also encourage a quarterback to swap plays. An audible may be called if the quarterback notices a way to exploit the defense in their current formation.
Another reason a quarterback may change the play at the line of scrimmage is due pass protection. When looking at the defense the quarterback may be able to tell how many players are going to rush the quarterback.
If the quarterback feels a blitz is coming he will be likely to change up the pass protection.
This could include the quarterback yelling verbal cues that let the tight end or running back know they must stay in the pocket and protect the quarterback on that play.
Describing The Defense
The other reason you may hear a quarterback yell prior to a play is when he is describing the defense. In most cases, this is going to be the quarterback identifying the middle linebacker.
These sorts of calls done by the quarterback illustrate who is who on the defense. A common phrase yelled prior to each play starting is “54 is mike”. This communicates the jersey number of the middle linebacker.
This helps to make sure the offense is on the same page regarding who to block and who to look out for.
In short, these are verbal cues a quarterback uses to let his teammates know he is going to snap the ball.