Gridiron Glossary: Silent Count

A silent count is a signal to snap the football that is used without words.

In very loud environments it can be hard for the offense to hear the quarterback call out the snap count.  This can lead to players being slow or offsides.  A silent count tells the center to snap the ball without his having to hear.  If the quarterback is under center, this can be the quarterback pushing on the center.  If the quarterback is in shotgun, he may lift his leg to tell the center to snap.

Most of the offense looks at the ball to tell when the play has started.  Usually the tackles can’t see the ball as well and need to watch the defense, so they don’t always watch.  When they don’t watch, they usually have the guard hold their hand.  When the guard sees the ball snapped he let’s go of the tackle’s hand, letting him know the play has started.


Gridiron Glossary is a resource for football terms that are often used by commentators, coaches and players but rarely defined.  If there is a term you have questions about or a definition you don’t agree with, let me know at

About Billy Koehler

Billy Koehler is the founder of and a contributing writer at He has been covering college football since 2006. You can follow him on twitter @billykoehler.
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