5-Minute Football : Audible

Here’s a football term that has crossed into mainstream culture: calling an audible. You might have heard it in any number of contexts, but today we’ll define what it means on a football field.

Calling an audible is what happens when someone, usually the quarterback, changes the play at the line of scrimmage. Why? Usually for one of two reasons: 1. If he doesn’t think the original play called will be successful against the defensive he’s seeing, or 2. If he sees some weakness in the defense he thinks he can exploit with a different play.

Peyton Manning, king of all things offense, does this frequently. Here’s an example:

You’ll notice when an audible is being called because the quarterback will be in make-things-happen mode, waving his arms and yelling and pointing, and players will be switching places to line up for a newly called play.

So, in essence, calling an audible means changing the original play call to a different play that will give your team a better chance to succeed. Like when you audible to pizza for dinner instead of meatloaf as planned to please the masses on a Friday night. (Always a good play call.)

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