The American Football Huddle Was Created By Deaf Players


In Unusualverse we already saw that the famous signals in baseball are attributed to a Deaf player named William 'Dummy' Hoy. Another contribution of deaf people has been the huddle, a name known in American football to the meeting on the field where one of the players explains to his teammates the play that the coach has asked him for.

Reunión de jugadores, Huddle, de fútbol americano
Huddle (photo: Mike Morbeck, CC BY-SA 2.0 in Flickr via Wikimedia)

It seems that the circle huddle started in 1894 with the Gallaudet University American Football team. Gallaudet University is the only university in the world of and for Deaf people. Located in Washington, United States, it has its origins in the mid-19th century as a boarding school and has gradually evolved into today's University. It has about 300 teachers and about two thousand students annually, most of them Deaf. In particular, it is attributed to a quarterback of the university called Paul Hubbard.

Paul realized that by communicating with his team in Sign Language, the players of the opposing team could sometimes see the plays, so he decided that the meetings would be in a circle, so that they could sign among themselves without being seen, originating the current huddle.

Players from Gallaudet Bisons (blue), Gallaudet University Football team (photo: Gallaudet Athletics)

American football is one of the sports with the most fans in the world, around 400 million, mostly in the United States and Canada. In short, a small contribution of Deaf people to an important sport.


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