A lot of digging needs to be done to find out what does hut mean in football. Hut is a monosyllable called by the quarterback when the play is started and the center throws rolls or passes the ball to him. Hut is used in football as a warning to call the team to attention.
A few terms need to be understood before we start with explaining the term hut to get a clearer picture.
- Center: A player who initiates the game of football and holds the ball between his legs to be passed to the quarterback.
- Scrimmage Line: An imaginary line crossing the football field, at its narrowest side.
- Quarterback: The player positioned behind the center, in the middle of offensive line. They lead the team by calling hut to start the throw.
- Snap: The brisk and fluent movement of the ball from the hands of the center in which the ball leaves his hands.
- Huddle: Grouping together of the team on the field, before the play begins.
- Snap Count: Number of times the term hut is called. This is decided in the huddle.
When a football game is about to start, the offensive team decides how many times hut will be called before the center throws the ball. This gives a clear advantage to the offensive team over the defense. When the quarterback calls hut for the final time, it is a queue for the center to throw. It is used as a notion from the quarterback that the team is ready for action. Hut therefore holds central eminence in the game, as it initiates strategy as well as play. Hut means, in football, calling team to attention.
In the era before vocal warning was introduced in football, the center would be alerted by having his leg scratched by the quarterback. In 1990 John Heisman got tricked while playing football as a center for the University of Pennsylvania. An opponent player scratched his leg which made him throw the ball when the quarterback was not ready. He then introduced the term hike to be announced before the ball was put into motion. Later it changed to hut and has remained that, since.
The question now arises, why does it have to be the word hut? The simplest vindication is that it has a catchy quality to its sound and so is a great way of drawing attention. The word hut probably stems from the military use of the word in World War II. The sergeants called the privates “Atten-hut!” to snap them into paying attention. This is what hut means in football also. It is said that hut is the most suitable term because of its affiliation with the military as it also requires the two most important attributes, the muscle and nerve. Hut means in football a leader calling forces to dissemble.
The use of monosyllables in football goes back a long time. The words hip and hike were acknowledged but the fact remains that even when the term hut was not recognized, hike or hip served the same purpose. In other words hike or hip in the 1990s was equal to hut in football now.