Origin of the Football Huddle

Each weekday during the month of October, which is Disability Awareness Month, the Texas Governor’s Committee for People with Disabilities┬áprovides anecdotes about famous people with disabilities, or little-known facts about the history of disability in America.

Did you know that the football huddle was invented by someone who was deaf? In the late 1800’s, Paul Hubbard played quarterback for the football team at Gallaudet University, a college for deaf individuals. Deaf schools used hand signals to communicate plays among players on the field. But the opposing team was often able to decipher the hand gestures. So in 1894, Mr. Hubbard thought of the huddle as a way to conceal the upcoming plays.

Soon the huddle was being used by mainstream colleges and universities. In 1896, Amos Alonzo Stagg, who played for the University of Chicago and is credited for helping to make football the intensely popular sport that it is today, used the huddle for more than just hiding game plans. He viewed the huddle as a vehicle to promote teamwork, good sportsmanship, and working together to make every play a success.