Huddle

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Adults and children huddle during a community football game in Kota Kinabalu Soccer Huddle Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.jpg
Adults and children huddle during a community football game in Kota Kinabalu

In sport, a huddle is an action of a team gathering together, usually in a tight circle, to strategize, motivate or celebrate. It is a popular strategy for keeping opponents insulated from sensitive information, and acts as a form of insulation when the level of noise in the venue is such that normal on-field communication is difficult. Commonly the leader of the huddle is the team captain and it is the captain who will try to inspire other team members to achieve success. Similarly after an event a huddle may take place to congratulate one another for the team's success, or to commiserate a defeat. The term "huddle" can be used as a verb as in "huddling up."

Contents

The huddle is commonly used in American football and Canadian football to strategize before each play; the offensive team's huddle is almost always led by the quarterback, and the defensive huddle is typically led by one of the linebackers. It is also popular in basketball, football (soccer), volleyball and cricket.

The huddle became more widely used in cricket after the India national team used it to great success during the 2003 Cricket World Cup. The England team has imitated this technique with some success, notably in the 2005 Ashes series.

Types

Circular

Baker Wildcats huddle up during a game Huddle (Baker at Ottawa) (cropped).JPG
Baker Wildcats huddle up during a game

Gallaudet University is Home of the Huddle. The first football huddle began in 1894. Gallaudet quarterback Paul D. Hubbard is credited with creating the football huddle during that season when Gallaudet went up against two different deaf schools. GU went 5-2-1 in 1894 and defeated the Pennsylvania Deaf School, 24-0, and the New York Deaf School, 20-6. Hubbard was worried that the other teams were stealing Gallaudet's plays because his signing was out in the open. He decided to circle up his teammates and the huddle was born. [1]

This type of huddle is still in common use today, typically between plays in American Football as the quarterback assigns the next play to the offense.

Typewriter

The typewriter huddle is a huddle formation created by former Florida State Head Coach Tom Nugent in the mid-1950s. It is typically used between a coach and multiple players, or when a quarterback or other player wants to create an image of being separate from the team, dictating to them, rather than being a part of the group, as with the circular huddle. The players being spoken to are arranged in two or more rows, the front row often kneeling or crouching. The player or coach speaking can then be assured that he has the attention of the entire audience, something that often is not possible if that person is in the center of a circular huddle. Though allowing players breathing room and providing space for more participants than a circular huddle, it is not as secure, as observers on the sidelines may be able to see hand signals or read the speaker's lips.

American football

Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL huddle. Offensive players gather in a rough circle out of hearing of the opposing defense to plan the next play. Huddle 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers.jpg
Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL huddle. Offensive players gather in a rough circle out of hearing of the opposing defense to plan the next play.

In American football, though seemingly random, huddles can have several forms. Before the 1890s, football players did not form huddles; they instead discussed the play far enough from the other team that they could not be overheard. As American football became more organized and formalized, so too did the huddle. [2]

The football team at Oregon Agricultural College was one of the first schools nationally to use the huddle formation in a game. It happened against the University of Washington in Seattle during the 1918 season. Head coach Bill Hargiss instructed the starters that once they returned to the field, they were to stand 10 yards behind the ball before the beginning of each play and whisper to one another what they were going to do next. [3] An eyewitness to the game was veteran Seattle sports columnist Royal Brougham, whose stories of the contest give testimony today to the program's early use of this pioneering new formation. [4]

Others trace the huddle to the 1890s in Gallaudet College. [5] in Washington, D.C. Paul Hubbard, a deaf player who went to Gallaudet, used the strategy to avoid having the other team see his sign language between plays; he and his team huddled to conceal the signs. [6]

During a game, the quarterback uses the huddle to communicate the next play to the offense. National Football League Rule 5 Section 2 stipulates that no more than eleven players may be in the offensive huddle. An offensive substitute who communicates with a teammate in a huddle would be penalized for "unsportsmanlike conduct"; this is to prevent teams from feigning a substitution and taking advantage of the chaos to confuse opponents. [7]

In some situations, teams may choose not to call a huddle and employ a hurry-up no-huddle offense to maximize time and surprise the defense.

Snap (gridiron football)

In a snap, the snap count is decided on in the huddle, usually expressed as "...on <number>." being the final words spoken by the quarterback after calling the play but before the huddle breaks and the players go to the line of scrimmage. The snap count allows offensive players to have a small head start. [8]

Association football

Celtic do their customary huddle before the UEFA Cup final, 2003 HuddleSevilleedit.jpg
Celtic do their customary huddle before the UEFA Cup final, 2003

In Association football (soccer), the huddle has been used before games by Brazil and the Ireland national teams and club teams such as Derry City FC. Celtic FC from Scotland have used the huddle as a pre-match ritual since 1995, although this was pre-dated by St. Mirren FC (also from Scotland) who had been using the huddle since 1993, although they have long since discontinued the practice. The huddle was introduced to Celtic by Tony Mowbray during a pre-season tour of Germany. The desire to show a togetherness from the players was Mowbray’s motivation for introducing the huddle, which amounts to the players linking arms to form a circle and heads being leaned in for the captain to deliver a rallying address.This is now carried out by all levels and ages of Celtic and often imitated by the supporters. The supporting visual aspect of this, although culturally unrelated can also be seen as similar to The Poznan.

Australian football

In contrast to other sports, the huddle is a specific tactic in Australian football, used by the team kicking in after a behind is scored, or some delayed stoppage. All players in the backline gather together about fifty meters from goal. Then, the players individually lead away from the huddle in all directions. The technique means that there will be several leading players, making it difficult to defend the first kick-in. It also allows teams to run set plays for the second and third kicks. The huddle was developed during the 1970s, and is still used today by many teams.

Related Research Articles

A play from scrimmage is the sequence in the game of gridiron football during which one team tries to advance the ball, get a first down, or score, and the other team tries to stop them or take the ball away. Once a play is over, and before the next play starts, the football is considered dead. A game of American football consists of many such plays.

Snap (gridiron football) Backward passing of the ball in gridiron football

A snap is the backwards passing of the ball in gridiron football at the start of play from scrimmage.

Quarterback Position in gridiron football

The quarterback, colloquially known as the "signal caller", is a position in gridiron football. Quarterbacks are members of the offensive platoon and mostly line up directly behind the offensive line. In modern American football, the quarterback is usually considered the leader of the offense, and is often responsible for calling the play in the huddle. The quarterback also touches the ball on almost every offensive play, and is the offensive player that almost always throws forward passes. When the QB is tackled behind the line of scrimmage, it is called a sack.

Shotgun formation American football offensive formation

The shotgun formation is a formation used by the offensive team in gridiron football mainly for passing plays, although some teams use it as their base formation. Instead of the quarterback receiving the snap from center at the line of scrimmage, in the shotgun he stands farther back, often five to seven yards off the line. Sometimes the quarterback will have a back on one or both sides before the snap, while other times he will be the lone player in the backfield with everyone spread out as receivers.

The hurry-up offense is an American football offensive style, which has two different but related forms in which the offensive team avoids delays between plays. The hurry-up, no-huddle offense (HUNH) refers to avoiding or shortening the huddle to limit or disrupt defensive strategies and flexibility. The two-minute drill is a clock-management strategy that may limit huddles but also emphasizes plays that stop the game clock. While the two-minute drill refers to parts of the game with little time remaining on the game clock, the no-huddle may be used in some form at any time. The no-huddle offense was pioneered by the Cincinnati Bengals and reached its most famous and complete usage by the Buffalo Bills, nicknamed the "K-Gun", during the 1990s under head coach Marv Levy and offensive coordinator Ted Marchibroda.

Sam Wyche American football player and coach

Samuel David Wyche was an American football quarterback and coach. He was a quarterback and head coach for the Cincinnati Bengals and a quarterbacks coach for the San Francisco 49ers. As head coach, he led the Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII, which they lost to the 49ers 20–16, relinquishing the lead on a last-minute touchdown. He was also known for introducing the use of the no-huddle offense as a standard offense.

Strategy forms a major part of American football. Both teams plan many aspects of their plays (offense) and response to plays (defense), such as what formations they take, who they put on the field, and the roles and instructions each player are given. Throughout a game, each team adapts to the other's apparent strengths and weaknesses, trying various approaches to outmaneuver or overpower their opponent in order to win the game.

Center (gridiron football) Position in American and Canadian football

Center (C) is a position in gridiron football. The center is the innermost lineman of the offensive line on a football team's offense. The center is also the player who passes the ball between his legs to the quarterback at the start of each play.

The halfback option play is an unorthodox play in American and Canadian football. It resembles a normal running play, but the running back has the option to throw a pass to another eligible receiver before crossing the line of scrimmage.

American football positions Specific roles that players take in American football

In American football, the specific role that a player takes on the field is referred to as their "position." Under the modern rules of American football, both teams are allowed 11 players on the field at one time and have "unlimited free substitutions," meaning that they may change any number of players during any "dead ball" situation. This has resulted in the development of three task-specific "platoons" of players within any single team: the offense, the defense, and the so-called 'special teams'. Within these three separate "platoons", various positions exist depending on the jobs that the players are doing.

Spread offense Offensive scheme in American and Canadian football

The spread offense is an offensive scheme in gridiron football that typically places the quarterback in the shotgun formation, and "spreads" the defense horizontally using three-, four-, and even five-receiver sets. Used at every level of the game including professional, college, and high school programs across the US and Canada, spread offenses often employ a no-huddle approach. Some implementations of the spread also feature wide splits between the offensive linemen.

Homer Woodson Hargiss

Homer Woodson "Bill" Hargiss was an American football and basketball player, and track and field athlete, and coach in Kansas and Oregon. He was an early innovator in football and was known to be one of the first coaches to use the forward pass and the huddle.

The New England Patriots generally run a modified Erhardt-Perkins offensive system and a Fairbanks-Bullough 3–4 defensive system, though they have also used a 4–3 defense and increased their use of the nickel defense.

The A-11 offense is an offensive scheme that has been used in some levels of amateur American football. In this offense, a loophole in the rules governing kicking formations is used to disguise which offensive players would be eligible to receive a pass for any given play. It was designed by Kurt Bryan and Steve Humphries of Piedmont High School in California.

The following terms are used in American football, both conventional and indoor. Some of these terms are also in use in Canadian football; for a list of terms unique to that code, see Glossary of Canadian football.

Wildcat formation describes a formation for the offense in football in which the ball is snapped not to the quarterback but directly to a player of another position lined up at the quarterback position. The Wildcat features an unbalanced offensive line and looks to the defense like a sweep behind zone blocking. A player moves across the formation prior to the snap. However, once this player crosses the position of the running back who will receive the snap, the play develops unlike the sweep.

Gallaudet Bison football

The Gallaudet Bison football team represents Gallaudet University in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III competition. It has been discontinued many times, and most recently restarted in 2007. After an undefeated season in 2005, which was achieved after 122 years, head coach Ed Hottle began his campaign to return Gallaudet to the NCAA ranks. With support from the Gallaudet administration, the Bison played their last season of club football in 2006 and played a full NCAA slate of eight games in 2007. In the fall of 2013, Gallaudet's football program began a remarkable run for the Division III playoffs and garnering a considerable amount of publicity, winning the regular season with a 9-1 record, before falling to Hobart College in the first round of the playoffs and ending the season with a 9-2 (.818) overall record.

A play calling system in American football is the specific language and methods used to call offensive plays.

Paul D. Hubbard American football quarterback

Paul D. Hubbard (1871–1946) was a deaf American football player who is credited with inventing the modern huddle. He played football at Gallaudet University from 1892 to 1895.

References

  1. "Gallaudet University is Home of the Huddle™".{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. Streelman, Erick (4 August 2015) (4 August 2015). "No Huddle Communication". Win With The Pass. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  3. "CONTENTdm" (PDF).
  4. "Bill Hargiss - First Use of the Offensive huddle, 1918".
  5. Okrent, Arika (3 February 2014). "The true origin story of the football huddle". The Week . Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  6. Gannon, Jack. 1981. Deaf Heritage: Narrative History of Deaf America, Silver Spring, MD: National Association of the Deaf, pp. 272, 276 (PDF)
  7. OFFICIAL NFL PLAYING RULES — Rule 5 Players, Substitutes, Equipment, General Rules (PDF). National Football League. pp. 23–24.
  8. "How Quarterbacks Call Plays and Audibilize during Football Games".