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Ask a Silly Question

January 26, 1999

How did the football huddle originate?

Super Bowl Sunday's big game between the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons promises touchdowns, tackles and time-outs- and lots of huddles.

This standard, quarterback-directed formation originated in the early 1920s. In 1918, a deaf baseball player, Alexander Cartwright, invented hand signals for such plays as strikes, balls, "safe" and "out."

Football quickly followed suit, using hand signals to denote plays.

In the early 1920s, coaches at Gallaudet College in Washington, D.C., invented the football huddle to prevent other deaf teams from seeing the signs used to set up plays.

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source: Cindy's Tampa Homepage of ASL and Deaf Culture

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