NFL Quarterbacks Snap Count Meaning (Blue 42, Green 18, White 80)

NFL Quarterbacks Snap Count Meaning (Blue 42, Green 18, White 80)

One of the quarterback’s responsibilities is to call out the snap count, which is a predetermined set of words or numbers used to initiate the play.

These snap counts are often heard by fans and viewers, but their meaning may not be immediately clear.

Here we look into the significance of NFL quarterbacks’ snap counts, specifically focusing on three popular examples: Blue 42, Green 18, and White 80.

The Importance of Snap Counts

Before we dive into the specific snap counts, it’s essential to understand why they are significant in football.

Snap counts serve multiple purposes:

  • Confusing the Defense: By using different snap counts, quarterbacks aim to keep the defense guessing and prevent them from anticipating the snap. This can create opportunities for the offense to exploit defensive weaknesses.
  • Timing and Synchronization: Snap counts help ensure that all offensive players are on the same page and initiate their movements simultaneously. This synchronization is crucial for executing complex plays effectively.
  • Audibles and Adjustments: Snap counts can also be used to communicate audibles or adjustments at the line of scrimmage. The quarterback may change the play based on the defensive alignment or identify potential weaknesses to exploit.

The Meaning Behind Snap Counts

Now let’s explore the specific snap counts and their meanings:

Green 18

When quarterbacks call out things like “Green 18” at the line of scrimmage, they are using what’s known as a “cadence.”

A cadence is a series of verbal signals and calls used by the quarterback to communicate various pieces of information to the rest of the offensive team before the ball is snapped.

This can include adjustments to the play, snap count, blocking assignments, and other things.

The phrase “Green 18” doesn’t necessarily have a fixed meaning in every context.

It can vary depending on the team’s playbook, the quarterback’s preferences, and even the specific game situation.

In some cases, “Green 18” could be a signal for when to snap the ball.

In others, it might indicate a change to a specific play, or serve as an identifier to ensure that all the offensive players are paying attention and ready for the snap.

It could also be a decoy or dummy call, designed to confuse or mislead the defense.

Without specific knowledge of a team’s playbook and strategies, it’s hard to say exactly what “Green 18” means in a specific context.

The precise meanings of these cadence calls are usually closely guarded secrets to maintain the element of surprise against opponents.

So, “Green 18” could mean different things to different teams, or even different things within the same game.

Blue 42

Blue 42 is one of the most recognizable snap counts in football.

It has been popularized by numerous quarterbacks and is often associated with Peyton Manning, a legendary NFL quarterback.

The meaning behind Blue 42 can vary depending on the team and the specific play call, but it generally serves as a dummy snap count.

When a quarterback uses Blue 42, it is typically a decoy to draw the defense offside or force them to reveal their coverage plans.

The quarterback may shout “Blue 42” loudly and abruptly, trying to catch the defense off guard and create a favorable situation for the offense.

Once the defense has shown their hand, the quarterback can then adjust the play accordingly.

White 80

White 80 is yet another snap count that has gained popularity in the NFL.

Like the previous examples, its meaning can vary depending on the team and play call.

However, White 80 is often associated with a change in the play or an audible.

When a quarterback uses White 80, it signifies that the original play call has been changed at the line of scrimmage.

The quarterback may have identified a defensive alignment that requires an adjustment or noticed a potential weakness in the defense.

By using White 80, the quarterback communicates this change to the rest of the offense, allowing them to adapt and execute the revised play.

How To Use A Snap Count?

Why Do Quarterbacks Clap for the Snap Count?

In the world of American football, the clap as a signal for the snap has become increasingly common, particularly in college football and occasionally in the NFL.

It offers a few potential advantages:

  1. Noise Levels: In loud environments like packed stadiums, a loud, sharp clap can be easier for the center (the player who snaps the ball to the quarterback) and other players to hear compared to verbal signals.
  2. No Huddle Offense: Teams that employ a no-huddle or hurry-up offense often use hand signals and physical cues like clapping rather than verbal cadence to communicate when to snap the ball. This allows them to run plays more quickly and efficiently.
  3. Preventing False Starts: Using a clap helps the quarterback avoid moving their head or body significantly, which could potentially draw a false start penalty.
  4. Uniformity: The clap is a simple, distinct sound that is less likely to be misunderstood or misheard compared to verbal signals, which can be drowned out or confused with other noises on the field.
  5. Visibility: Especially for shotgun and pistol formations, where the quarterback is several yards behind the center, the clap can be seen by peripheral vision by linemen who may not be able to hear verbal commands as clearly.

As with most things in football, the precise methods for signaling the snap can vary greatly between different teams and leagues, and are often adapted to suit the specific needs and strategies of the team.

Why Do Quarterbacks Clap for the Snap Count?

What Does “Omaha” Mean When a Quarterback Says It at the Line of Scrimmage?

The term “Omaha” gained notoriety primarily due to Peyton Manning, former quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, who frequently used it at the line of scrimmage.

However, the meaning of the term isn’t straightforward, as it can change based on the team, the game, and even the situation within the game.

Generally, quarterbacks use such words as part of their cadence (the rhythm, tempo, and coded language used to coordinate the offense).

“Omaha” could have multiple meanings:

  1. Play Change: The quarterback could use “Omaha” to signal a change in the play. If the quarterback sees the defense lined up in a way that is disadvantageous to the originally called play, they may call “Omaha” to switch to a different play.
  2. Snap Count: “Omaha” could signal when the ball will be snapped. For example, Peyton Manning often used “Omaha” to mean that the ball would be snapped on his next vocal cue, like “set hut.”
  3. Dummy Call: Sometimes, words like “Omaha” are used as dummy signals. The quarterback calls out the word to try to trick the defense into thinking that a play change or snap is imminent, hoping to draw them offsides or get them out of position.

During his career, Peyton Manning was asked about the meaning of “Omaha.”

He jokingly responded that it varies, sometimes it means the ball will be snapped on the next “hut” and other times it doesn’t mean anything.

Without specific insider knowledge of a team’s playbook, it’s challenging to say definitively what “Omaha” or any other cadence means in a specific context.

This is part of the strategy of football: keeping your plans as unclear as possible to the opposing team.

FAQs: NFL Quarterbacks Snap Count Meaning (Blue 42, Green 18, White 80)

1. Why do quarterbacks use snap counts?

Quarterbacks use snap counts to confuse the defense, synchronize the offense, and communicate audibles or adjustments at the line of scrimmage.

2. Can snap counts change from game to game?

Yes, snap counts can change from game to game and even within the same game.

Coaches and quarterbacks often develop new snap counts to keep the defense guessing and adapt to specific game situations.

3. Are snap counts the same for all teams?

No, snap counts can vary between teams and even between different quarterbacks within the same team.

Each team and quarterback may have their own unique set of snap counts.

4. Do snap counts always involve numbers?

No, snap counts can involve words, numbers, or a combination of both.

The specific words or numbers used in snap counts are determined by the team’s playbook and the quarterback’s preferences.

5. Can the defense anticipate the snap count?

The defense can try to anticipate the snap count by studying film, observing the quarterback’s tendencies, and listening for cues.

However, quarterbacks often employ various techniques to prevent the defense from accurately predicting the snap count.

6. Are snap counts the same in college football?

Snap counts in college football can differ from those used in the NFL.

Each college team may have its own set of snap counts, and they may not necessarily use the same terminology as their professional counterparts.

7. Are snap counts used in other positions besides the quarterback?

While snap counts are primarily associated with quarterbacks, other positions, such as offensive linemen, may also have their own specific snap count responsibilities.

These positions need to be in sync with the quarterback’s snap count to ensure proper timing and execution.

8. Can snap counts be used to deceive the offense?

Yes, snap counts can be used by the defense to deceive the offense.

Defensive players may try to mimic the quarterback’s snap count or use their own signals to confuse the offense and disrupt their timing.

9. How do quarterbacks come up with snap counts?

Quarterbacks, along with their coaches and offensive coordinators, develop snap counts based on the team’s playbook, game plan, and the specific opponent they are facing.

They consider factors such as the defense’s tendencies, potential weaknesses, and the desired offensive strategy.

10. Can snap counts change during a play?

In some cases, quarterbacks may change the snap count during a play to catch the defense off guard or adjust the play based on real-time observations.

However, this is less common and typically occurs in specific situations.


NFL quarterbacks’ snap counts play a vital role in the game of football.

They serve to confuse the defense, synchronize the offense, and communicate audibles or adjustments.

Snap counts like Blue 42, Green 18, and White 80 have become well-known examples, each with its own specific meaning and purpose.

While the exact meanings can vary between teams and playbooks, understanding these snap counts provides valuable insights into the strategic elements of the game.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *