Home > Deaf History, Sports > Deaf Football Player Invented the American Football Huddle

Deaf Football Player Invented the American Football Huddle

February 1, 2009

By Bug

About 100 million Americans will watch Super Bowl XLIII today. How many of them know the history of American football huddle? Who invented the huddle? About 85 percent of people don’t know that Deaf player at Gallaudet University invented the American football huddle in 1894.

Who invented it? How did the football huddle start? Paul Hubbard the quarterback player at Gallaudet University realized that his sign language (hand signal) could be read by opposing players so he had to pull his players into a circle so that his sign language could be shown without anyone on the sidelines or on the opposing team seeing.

Many years before the first huddle, many Deaf football players used sign language to signal to each other as they played until Paul Huddbard got fed up of the other team watching and guessing their plays so he invented the huddle. Then they exchanged the secrets through sign language inside the huddle.

Today every footbal team uses this type of huddle as it is still in common use today, typically between plays in American football as the quarterback assigns the next play to the offense.

Here’s an interesting story about the football at Gallaudet Unviersity:

http://www.fredbowen.com/c100600.htm

Also, see old Gallaudet photos of Deaf football team:

http://archives.gallaudet.edu/Football.htm

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Categories: Deaf History, Sports
  1. Alan Jeffers
    February 1, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I am surprise that deaf invented first football back in 1894 but strange another things that “little parise house” that show the program that young kids play football so do you had old films for deaf america Gallaudet University 1894 ? show us so we can watch movie and find out history how it work from begining to forward. why not present Pro deaf Gallaudet Unviersity vs NFL ? When pick best deaf player. I bet Deaf Pro Gallaudet Unviesity beat NFL cause NFL is out of control of bigger drum line up men like ” one or two zoomest ” which beat to go. maybe future will be” Deaf Pro Gallaudet Unviersity Superbowl Champion ” does it count like pittburgh soon 6 times superbowl or fail tonight ? even san fran and dallas cowboys 5 times. does deaf pro gallaudet u superbowl count more superbowl quickly ? so all of deaf usa will support only deaf fans. my image will be future challange huh ???? why not look up 1894 america deaf pro football first history. look up MssD in washington d.c lots of football champion history start in 1979 9 wins and 0 lost whistle “good sportshipstudent ” and more champions count seem like Pro Gallaudet U. CAN DO IT ! Usa Deaf can fund for set up America Deaf Pro football future if they like to do ?.

  2. February 1, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Hope your image will happen! :) Good idea about the video. We will try to find it somewhere.. I am sure that Gallaudet University has a lot of old films. Bug

  3. Clyde
    January 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    How many players been played for Professional Football from Gallaudet Unversity?

  4. February 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Alan – He invented the huddle. He didn’t invent football. :-)

  5. February 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Hi,
    I am interested in using the image of the football huddle from this article to use in an poster design for a small sports marketing company. Where did you find this image? Am I able to use it?

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