If you don’t know much about American football, hearing the word “audible” might make you feel a little lost.
In fact, I’ve seen this happen so many times in my career, with people talking about the audible protocol without even meaning to.
NFL audible calls can be hard to define, just like almost any other football term.
Given how the game is played, it can sometimes sound like those of us with enlightened minds (or at least those of us who think we have enlightened minds) are speaking a different language.
So, What Is An Audible?
An audible play in football is a specific way for the quarterback to tell the team to change the play from the line of scrimmage. Most of the time, they are called when the quarterback sees that the defence is in a position where they can start a counter.
Obviously, it’s not that easy (that’s probably why you’re reading this article), and American football wouldn’t be the same without all the different terms.
How Would Someone Call An Audible Play?
Given how fast the scrimmage is and how many bodies are flying around, quarterbacks are usually paid the most because they can see things that aren’t always clear to the untrained eye.
In fact, it’s important to keep in mind that football is as much a mental battle as it is a physical one.
With that in mind, the hand signals you’ve learned over many hours of coaching on the field are useless. For the quarterback to get his point across, he has to use something much more simple.
So, they will have to shout an audible football play to take advantage of the other team’s mistake on defence.
What Do They Shout?
Now things start getting really interesting.
The most important part of a quarterback’s audible call is, of course, how they hide the play they have in mind.
If they yelled out what they were going to do, it could give away the whole game and give the other team time to change their shape, so they have to give instructions in a code-like way.
So they look at how well a team’s coach has done. When they need to get a point across quickly, they might give a certain play a codename, and the mere mention of that word would be enough to get their team in order.
Some examples of audible calls in football are:
Jared Goff yelled “Elvis” or “Rick Flair,” and Peyton Manning yelled “Omaha!”
People have also called them Quick Ace, Scat, Zoom, and Buzz (on their own, of course).
Who Would Call Them
Most of the time, it’s up to your quarterback to call an audible.
Even if coaches and coordinators are yelling all kinds of other instructions, there isn’t really another chance for someone to call an audible when a sharp-eyed player catches the other team off guard.
They usually make a lot of money because they can choose what audible to call at the flip of a coin. They have a natural drive to win, so trust your quarterback. This is very important.
When Would They Call Them?
Most of the time, a quarterback will call an audible when they see a weakness in the defence that they can take advantage of.
If the other team doesn’t follow their game plan, there may be gaps in the traffic of the scrimmage, which could lead to a play that can be heard.
In other situations, the defending team might try to catch the attacking team off guard. In fact, if they want to do something different from what they usually do and try to surprise the other team, they might call an audible to switch from one play to another and get their team back on track.
The Benefits Of An Audible
So, as you can see, audibles are made quickly when a change in strategy could make a small difference.
There are many benefits, that’s for sure. They hide what the attacking team is doing and cause exciting plays to change, which makes fans happy and sends commentators crazy.
There are other reasons to call audibles as well. Even though their main goal is to take advantage of problems, don’t think that’s the only reason to scream at the top of your lungs.
They can keep your quarterback from getting sacked because the player with the ball will be able to aim for a specific runner that the defence might not have seen as well. You can stop that from happening.
Basically, they let the quarterback do what he does best by letting him make decisions quickly. They should be treated like a quarterback’s best friend.
NFL Audible Rules
Just like with any other football term, it’s important to know what the NFL says about audibles.
Well, the great thing about these is that there are no set rules. You can shout almost anything, as long as it makes sense. Essentially, you must create the terms on the practice field and ensure that your players know what to do as soon as your quarterback says it.
Tip from the coach: Use short words. This may seem obvious, but you need something short, snappy, and easy to remember so that everyone on your team is on the same page in milliseconds.
Elvis and Rick Flair are two excellent examples. From my own experience, I like to use place names like “Canada” or “Detroit,” which are short but clear enough to be memorable.
It’s important that they are clear and to the point.
If you’ve been paying attention to the article so far, you’ll know that audibles are usually connected to offensive plays.
But they don’t have to do it only during that part of the game.
In fact, most of these are based on how people react. Any good coach would have made sure that their defensive players were ready for anything, and while the practice is pretty much the same, the situations are very different.
If the other team is trying to throw you, a good defensive audible will get your blockers into a certain shape to counter what they are doing. So, if the other team’s quarterback calls an audible, it’s up to the defensive team to shout their own term so they can get their ducks in a row.
Like the other set of audibles, the best terms are those that are clear and to the point. If it’s only one syllable, the players who need to know what to do will know EXACTLY what to do when it’s called, and the defence will get set up in milliseconds.
They look like old war cries, and when they’re done right, they’re amazing to watch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can The Defense Yell ‘Hut’?
The initiative is against you here, which is bad news (if you’re on the defensive team, of course).
When the quarterback is going to yell “hu” before the ball is snapped, the defensive team can’t do anything. It’s just not good sport.
What Is The Base Word For Audible?
If you like history like I do, you might be interested to know that the Latin word “audire” is where the word “audible” comes from.
That basically means to listen. Go ahead and show off to your friends how smart you are.
What Does ‘Make An Audible’ Mean?
This is the main point, right?
In practice, to “call an audible” means to tell the team as soon as possible that they need to change their plan.
What Is An Example Of When An Audible Is Called
Imagine that a quarterback wants to start a running play, but at the last second they see that the other team’s defence is starting to blitz, which means they are going to rush the quarterback and close off any passing lanes.
In that case, they should call audible to quickly change their strategy and provide them with another option.
Football Audible – Final Thoughts And Conclusion
We got there in the end, thank goodness.
It’s very important to remember that audibles are only used as a last resort when the quarterback sees something that could help the team and wants to change the plan quickly.
They are created in a split second and are intended to catch the opposing team off guard.Even though audibles can be used in defensive set-ups, they are mostly the job of the quarterback, which is why their salaries are usually so high!
The best football audibles are short and to the point, so that the work done in practice can be put to use as soon as they are said.
It’s clear that audibles don’t work without a lot of coaching. During the week before a game and the whole off-season, good coaches will work with their teams on many different strategies and prepare for many different outcomes so that the quarterback has choices.
From there, they can change their plan if the situation calls for it.