Why Do American Football Quarterbacks Say “Hut Hut Hike!”?

Why Do American Football Quarterbacks Say “Hut Hut Hike!”?
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An integral part of the game, immediately
prior to the start of play, the football quarterback begins his cadence. More than just “hut,” the offensive leader
on the field uses short commands to prepare the team, adjust to the defense’s line up
and even change the play. Whether it’s “53 is the Mike,” “Omaha,”
“Red 32,” “Set” or “Hike,” each shout is an important tool in the quarterback’s
bag of tricks. The Short Words The most well known cadence, “hike,” was
the brainchild of John Heisman (of the eponymous trophy). Prior to its introduction, commonly the quarterback
signaled the center to give him the ball by simply scratching the center’s leg. During the 1890-1891 season, Heisman was playing
center for the University of Pennsylvania when a leg scratch from an opposing player
tricked into hiking early. To fix the problem, Heisman introduced using
a word to start the snap, and that it be “hike,” which already meant to lift up and also had
the added benefit of being a short, sharp sound. “Hut” was a later introduction, although
by the 1950s it was commonly in use in football. Linguists trace its origins back to military
cadence, particularly of World War II, when drill sergeants would holler “Atten-hut!” Another short, sharp sound, it was perfect
for preparing the team for battle. Sharply yelling single syllable words to get
attention has a long history. Early on, animals were directed with such
commands (and still are today) and common locutions included “hup,” “hip” and
“hep” (with “hup” dating back to the 18th century). Other short football commands include “set,”
after which the linemen get into their stance, and “move” which may direct many players
to adjust according to a planned shift, or could just stir a few to action (e.g., the
tight ends assume a 3-point stance). Longer Phrases Colors and numbers are frequently used in
combination, such as “Green 19,” “Blue 82” and “43-2,” for any number of reasons. Sometimes, the phrase indicates an audible
(change in play called at the line of scrimmage to adjust to a troubling defensive scheme),
and other times, it clues players in to their blocking assignments. Often the phrase will put a receiver in motion
or simply designate when the ball is about to be snapped. And frequently, a great deal of it (if not
all at times) is gibberish. Typically, a team will have a live color – after
hearing this color, offensive players know the predetermined snap count (the number of
“huts” after which the ball will be hiked) is about to begin (e.g., “Green 32, Green
32, hut hut.”) Even though one color is live, other colors
will be used (gibberish), to distract and confuse the defense, and sometimes even to
cause them to jump offsides if used with a hard count (e.g. if green is the live color,
“Blue 18, Blue 18, hut, hut, HUT hut.”) The live color can be any color, although
according to Brett Favre, “a lot of teams use black or red as a hot. When you hear that, there’s an audible coming.” Nonetheless, as he concludes, “everyone’s
different.” Another typical cadence denotes ” the Mike.” Traditionally, “Mike” was shorthand for
the middle linebacker, and a common cadence heard in the NFC North (and before that the
Central) from 2000-2012 was “54 has the Mike.” However, several commentators note that this
phrase is not necessarily applied to the Mike, but to the defensive player that requires
special attention – such as who the fullback should block. A cadence that comes in many forms but generally
means the same thing is the word(s) used to indicate a change in the snap count. Peyton and Eli Manning sometimes use “Omaha,”
(Eli says Peyton stole it from him), and Tom Brady uses “Alpha.” Defenses are wise to this use, and in fact
during a 2009 Giants-Dallas game, Eli used it too much – to the point where Chris Collinsworth
thought he was tipping the snap. Adjusting yet again, now these quarterbacks
use “Omaha” and “Alpha” in other ways, such as when Peyton began incorporating it
into his hard count (with great success, apparently). In order to clue the offense in, they will
have established a “freeze” word that he yells before “Omaha,” so no offensive
players move, but the defense jumps. Football insiders Randy Moss and Brian Urlacher
have a different take on “Omaha,” and though it was used to direct the offense to
run the planned play, but in the opposite direction. A Rise in Gibberish Fans have noticed an upswing in chatter from
quarterbacks over the last several years, and most believe this is due to placing microphones
on centers and guards in 2011. Used by the networks to bring the sounds of
the game to the viewers, prior to 2010, the official, who was positioned in the defensive
backfield, wore the on-field microphone. After 2010, the official was placed in the
offensive backfield (due to safety concerns), but with the quarterback’s back to him,
many sounds were muffled before it reached the mic. The solution: wire up some offensive lineman. Another example of unintended consequences,
now every code and cue uttered by the quarterback is clearly audible to everyone, including
defensive players and coordinators. As a result, defenses were better able to
decode cadences, which, once again, stirred offenses to adapt – now with a combination
of hand signals, gesticulations and a great deal of meaningless chatter to hide the few
important code words. As one veteran defensive lineman noted: “He’s
holding up two finders . . . calling out all these colors, ‘purple, blue’ . . . it’s
funny . . . when you see someone on TV jump offisdes . . . but the fact of the matter
is that you get out there on Sunday and it could happen
to you.”

100 thoughts on “Why Do American Football Quarterbacks Say “Hut Hut Hike!”?

  1. It is very interesting hearing American football described by an Englishman. The sport sounds much more sophisticated when described with this vernacular instead of a (U.S.) Southern accent. 😂

  2. They don't usually say exactly that. They say all kinds of things. Peyton Manning was famous for saying "Omaha" a lot….

  3. Drew Brees is a master of the hard count. I’d like to see the stats on how many times each QB has drawn an offsides penalty with it.

  4. three point stance – one had down. smokes 3 points for contact with the ground. 2 feet, one hand, leaned forward ready to take off.

  5. Trust me brah we think England is just about as fucking retarded. Your not going on "holiday"..lol… Your going on vacation fuck stick Christmas is a holiday you just cant go on christ mas any day of the year. Or worse is university which you attend a university or college. That and wags what the fuck is a wag ? Last. Whats with the soccer obession you silly sons of bitches wanna be Mexicans if so just start eating tacos or actual Mexicans…muahhhhhhhhhh…lol.

  6. I work for a major hotel chain. I had fun one afternoon trying explain American football to an Aussie, while he explained Australian rules football to me. The only thing we both agreed upon was that as long as edged weapons were NOT permitted in either game . . . Just let the guys play . . . .

  7. How could the opposing teams member scratch the centers leg and make him hike the ball? Wouldn't he see the other guy scratch his leg? Maybe I need to watch this again. Meh…

  8. As a former hybrid Defender (LB/DL/DE) NOT from USA I can tell first hand how confusing can all that QB chatter be, there are ways to accurately read the offense prior to the snap and adjust "on the fly" avoiding mistakes BUT the most effective is to combine such with thorough study of the opponent to know their strengths, weaknesses and tendencies…..

  9. It’s a military influenced game so there’s a lot of traditional military jargon.

    Mike=middle, Sam=Strong, Willy=Weak

    Traditional linebacker positions.

    Also, the jargon changes by region. America is a big place. Different coaches use different terminology for the same thing. That’s why we have playbooks. It’s a pretty complex game with a simple goal.

  10. HAHAHA Simon, I swear you be killin me in these videos bruh. You used to be so reserved, now it's like "Damn…they really got me saying this…" , which is what we all used to wonder before if that's what you were thinking LOL priceless

  11. Waste of time. So many variations on names, numbers, pauses/timing in snap counts. Plays are called in the huddle. You might have an additional call if the QB reads something before the snap.

  12. Stop being such a European snob about our sports. Same could be said for what we consider idiocies and meaningless nomenclature of rugby and cricket.

  13. who in american football says hike? never heard 1 pro or college or high school say hike and ive watched 10,000 games in my life

  14. hike=lift (not the elevator lift) a sin the center lifting the ball up to the quarterback. or i hiked up your wifes skirt and banged her on your dinner table. see very easy

  15. Very amusing to me to hear a Brit talking football. I feel I am smarter now but don't know why.
    "An Englishman reading the phone-book sounds better than an American reading the Declaration of Independence" joke from an old Mad Magazine…

  16. Any word can be used to snap the ball. In fact, you don't even have to say anything. There is what's called the silent count.

  17. A three point stance is when you have three limbs on the ground, two legs and a hand. Four point stance is when you have four limbs on the ground, two feet, two hands. A two point stance is when you're standing up. And there is no one point stance because, well, that would just look funny.

  18. Poor Simon having a very hard time keeping it together in this episode. You can almost hear him saying "Why cant they just play real football like the rest of the world".

  19. This guy is an American football expert and he doesn't know that a 3 point stance is both feet and one set of knuckles down with the other arm places across the thighs.

  20. They keep changing the rules every year so its difficult to keep up , I think we should arm the players like Roman gladiators !

  21. I loved learning what my highschool flag football team's audibles and play calls in the huddle meant. Once you get the hang of it it really helps you to do your part in something big as all the players on your side of the ball work fluidly toward one goal.

  22. When I played football, we did set – color # – color# – go one two or three times. In the huddle we would determine what we snapped the ball on such as "on one" which was the first go that the QB said (which would obviously be the only go as the ball would be snapped.) We regularly used the first go and later on in the game, we would begin to switch it up as the defense was lulled into us saying go to snap the ball. If the QB said we go on set or on 3 we would get set then the QB would say set then the ball would be snapped early which caught them off guard which we would use for a short down running the ball, we would go on 2 or 3 to try to catch them offside if we had a long conversion. If the QB used a specific color, the play would be changed during the cadence to a run if they called white or a pass if they said yellow. The play it was changed to was one we could already do in that formation and was chosen before the season began. This would be to adjust to a defensive formation which would ruin the play called in the huddle. I didn't play at a level where the defense would be aware of this ahead of time.

  23. A receiver is normally put in motion by the QB stepping back with one foot, or just lifting his foot/heel. Receivers are usually too far away to actually hear the cadence (especially if they're the visiting team), and if the QB is changing the play he'll turn to shout toward the receiver, or use a hand signal.

    The only complication to this is when the QB is in the shotgun formation. Then, even the center may not be able to hear him, and the QB signals the snap by lifting one foot (it's usually the second time the QB lifts his foot, as the first may be a decoy, or sending a receiver in motion) and the center snaps 1 second later. Sometimes one of the guards watches for the signal from the QB and taps the center when the snap signal wad given.

  24. No NFL QB has said Hut Hut Hike since the 1950s… they mostly have a cadence and say Go. For example Mitchell Trubisky will say Blue 80. But it's more like "Blue EighTEY, Blue eighTEEEYY… GO!" Or Arron Roger's "Green Ninteen… Green Ninteeeeeen… Green Ni..Go!"

  25. 1:54 3-point stance is the same with Offensive and defensive lineman. You already have your two feet on the ground (or 'dirt'), the 3rd point is the hand closest to the center, and the center will have his dominant hand to 'hike' or hook the ball (if you equate a center in American Football to a Hooker in rugby, as they hook the ball with their legs during a scrum).

  26. 2:41 Hot is the hot receiver (I forgot if he is the first or last receiving option, esp. when facing a heavy blitz or tight coverage downfield)

  27. Other common code and signals that I remembered:
    Kill – Change play
    X, Y, Z (the WR's and/or TE's)
    1-9 (route tree, odd numbers outside, even numbers in, 9/fly/go is the go–and-sprint straight and fly past the defender in front of you)
    Tap helmet (Check for acknowledgement, esp. when it's in a loud stadium).
    Stomping one foot on the ground – Shotgun snap, where the QB is not directly under and behind center, but 3 yards away, so the ball is snapped further away.
    60 (six-oh: Call the offensive line and TE to just block everyone in front of them, expecting all-out blitz).

  28. I don’t think we’ve said hut hut hike since the 80’s. I played QB from pop warner to JUCO ball and I’ve set go or just go. Or even a clap.

  29. well, they dont say this anymore….and havent for years…the 1950s called, they want their slang back…..jesus…

  30. You know, to be fair, I'm an American and still can't listen to an American soccer analyst. So I'll let that bit go, but you should really have someone who knows the game talk about it. They haven't said "hut hut hike" in DECADES

  31. I am an American. Born, raised, grew old here. Yet I've never been to a football game, basketball game, and only one baseball game– and that was only because I was the bus driver for a half-drunk group of bar patrons who all had tickets. I think I left within an hour and slept in the bus. Professional sports, or at least the American versions of them, which involves lots of advertising and drinking and excessive salaries, has never been my thing. But I do feel sad for the kids who must sit at home and watch football on TV, only because going to the game itself will cost a family of four about $500 exclusive of beer and hot dogs, and that is for the seats so high up that you get altitude sickness. All to pay those high salaries.

  32. 2:14 – You're not alone, Simon. I'm American, and I don't understand the first thing about (not to mention having zero interest in) American football.

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