football huddle

What Is A Huddle In Football

A lot happens in a football game. You’ll sometimes see players in the backfield huddling together for a few seconds.

You may wonder, “Why do they huddle? and “What’s a football huddle?”

A huddle in football is a small circle that players form in the backfield. It’s a small meeting where the offense communicates the next play. They do it in the backfield together without the other team seeing.

Simply put, a huddle is a way to call the next play, motivate each other and make adjustments. On a few occasions, the defense can also huddle between plays. However, defense huddles aren’t as common as offensive huddles.

Let’s dig deep and understand a football huddle.

Why Do Football Teams Huddle?

Teams huddle to brief each other on the gameplay and share ideas. They also motivate each other and ensure every player understands what to do in their next play.

Team huddle to communicate and ensure they know what they’re doing. It’s like a small meeting where the team leader or coach briefs everyone on the team on their play.

They huddle together in a small circle to ensure anything they communicate remains hidden from the opponents. The huddling is to ensure no other player from the opposing team understands or sees what they’re talking about.

What Happens In A Huddle

In huddles, players communicate on several matters regarding the game and the opponents. Below, I’ll discuss some of the major things that happen in a huddle.

american football team in blue jerseys

Play calling

This is one of the main things that happens in a huddle. Here, players discuss the next play of the team.

The quarterback takes center stage with a helmet radio, where he gets instructions from the coaching staff. Through the radio, the quarterbacks get instructions on the next play moves. He relays the same to the rest of the players.

In addition, the quarterback, in a huddle, can inform his teammates of the cadence for upcoming plays.

Mid-game Adjustments

Players also use the huddle to make mini-game adjustments. This is a great time to correct and change whatever play that’s not working.

It’s a great time to inform each other of the opponent’s weaknesses and strengths. Is the cornerback prone to double moves? If yes, this is a perfect opportunity to inform your quarterback so that he can take advantage.


Lastly, players motivate and encourage each other in the huddle. They usually complement each other in the last good play.

Players can only encourage and complement each other when they’re close in a huddle.

How Long Is A Huddle In Football

So, how long do players take in a huddle?

A huddle in football is just a few seconds. It happens so fast, with players coming together in a small circle and sharing briefs. On average, a team huddles for about 40 seconds.

Within 40 seconds, the quarterback takes instructions from the coaching staff and relays them to the team. 

It’s a pretty short time to devise new strategies. There’s no time for deep talks and reflections.

Teams can also huddle during timeouts. Such hurdles are longer and involve the coach. But such huddles take place on the sidelines with both teams guaranteed the same time.

How Do You Form A Football Huddle

As shown above, a huddle is a small circle meeting in the backfield where players communicate the next play and share and motivate each other.

players around a football in the field

But how do teams form huddles? Huddles exist in different forms. But the general idea is to have the players together in a small area. Generally, players huddle by coming together in a circular or typewriter huddle formation.


This is a modern huddle where players form a circle and face inwards. They create a tight circle. It’s an old-form huddle formed in 1892 by Paul D. Hubbard of Gallaudet University.

This was among the very first schools for the hard-hearing and deaf. He came up with the huddle after realizing opponents could read his hand signals.

He invented a circle huddle where he would communicate signs to his players without opponents seeing.

Some credit for the circular huddle also goes to Bob Zuppke, a former coach at the Illinois university.


The circular huddle, as the name suggests, sees players coming together in a small circle. It’s a type of huddle formed by Tom Nugent, the head coach of Florida State in the mid-1950s.

In the huddle, players arrange themselves in two or more rows. The front row will crouch or kneel. This gives the player addressing them full attention.

However, that’s not always the case when the quarterback is at the center. But the typewriter huddle does provide players with ample breathing space than a circular huddle.

What Is The Origin Of The Football Huddle

The origin of huddles goes as far back as 1894 in Gallaudet University of the deaf and hard-hearing. The huddle came about as a result of the opponent learning the signs of the player’s university.

Quarterback Paul Hubbard realized that opponents would read his signs. He devised a way to beat them by forming a circle when giving instructions. This led to what we now know as a football huddle.

He had to look for a way to prevent opponents from reading his signals to teammates. The only way was by forming a tight circle where he remained hidden from the opponents.

This was how the huddle came into place.

Who Invented Football Huddle

A football huddle was invented by Paul Hubbard while playing for Gallaudet as a quarterback. He devised a way to communicate with his teammates without the opponents reading his signals.

american football players huddle before the game

What Is Hurry Up Offense

A hurry-up offense in football is a type of play where the offense decides to skip the huddle. It’s a way of the offense speeding up the game. This gives the defense little or no time to react. The defense needs to get into the right positions to play.

With the defense having little time to react, they can get nervous and confused. While the hurry-up offense is great for the offense, it can also work against them. The offense might also lack enough time to regroup.

Football Huddle FAQs

Why Do Football Players Clap After Huddle?

Football players clap after a huddle as a way to show they are in sync. It’s a way for every player in the team to show they have understood the instructions given in the huddle.

What Do Football Players Say After a Huddle?

Football players, after a huddle, can only nod and clap to show agreement with the instructions from the quarterback. They can also shout and tap each other to help motivate each other.

Why Do College Football Teams Not Huddle?

College football has no huddles because the defense doesn’t know when play will start. The players derive their power from a snap threat.


There you go! That’s all we had regarding a football huddle. A huddle is a tight circle in the backfield where players communicate and make play calls. It’s a small circle that ensures the opponents don’t see the signals and understand what plays the team’s plans.

In a huddle, the quarterback receives instructions from the coaching staff and relays the same information to the rest of the plays. It’s a great way to make play calls secretly, motivate each other and make mid-game adjustments.

The next time you see the “circle” during a football match, that’s a huddle. It’s often a great way to strengthen the team’s performance and relay information much easier.

If you have more questions about the huddle in football, our team of experts are open to guide you. Leave a comment.

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