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Why do Football Players Clap After a Huddle?

Why do Football Players Clap After a Huddle?

American football is, by far, the most popular sport in the nation.  With 37% of the population indicating that football is their favorite sport, the sport has entrenched itself in the American consciousness and garners more weekly viewers than any other televised sport.  And with the Super Bowl drawing nearly 100 million viewers, football continues to dominate as the sport of choice in America.

But whether you are an avid or casual fan, you may wonder why football players clap after a huddle?  A common occurrence in the sport, football players will simultaneously clap after a quick huddle before the play begins.  Below we are going to review just why football players clap after a huddle.

The Significance of the Clap

Clapping is one of the most popular sounds we humans make without our vocal chords.  From sporting arenas to graduation ceremonies, to standing ovations, clapping is one of the easiest and most effective ways to show approval, admiration, and gratitude.

But while we typically associate clapping with approval and admiration, research has shown that clapping is more nuanced.  Rather, clapping has little to do with one owns opinion or personal beliefs and is rather a form of community and belonging to a group.

And rather than vocalizing our approval, clapping is more efficient, easier, and generally louder in sound.  Furthermore, clapping is a universal act, whereas stomping your feet may be too disruptive and snapping your fingers may be too difficult for everyone to complete, clapping can be done easily and by nearly everyone in a group.

Interestingly enough, clapping is also a known response in certain situations.  For example, take two different situations and consider which one you would clap in.  The first is after a speech or sermon by a religious figure.  The second is after a speech by a popular politician you support. 

Nearly all of us would agree that clapping for the latter is more appropriate than the former.  However, many of us would have difficulty explaining why.  And that why is what makes clapping so interesting and unifying.  While difficult to explain, clapping is simply a shared understanding of approval and an act that is just understood.

Football and Clapping

There is probably no more appropriate time to clap than during a sporting event and this is doubly true for football games.  Whether after a difficult catch, a defensive stop, or a touchdown, clapping and football go together better than peanut butter and jelly.

Clapping during a football game is not only a show of appreciation and admiration, but also acts as a motivating factor to the players.  Many football players thrive off of the spotlight and are encouraged by their fans both in the stadium and at home.

This motivating factor has significant psychological influences.  A football player, particularly one who is adored by the home crowd, will benefit greatly from the clapping of the crowd, and will feel more confident and in tune with their game when the crowd applauds their efforts and plays.

So, why do Football Players Clap After a Huddle?

There are many reasons why football players clap after a huddle.  However, perhaps the most likely cause is simply to indicate the end of the huddle.  This quick, one-clap act is a signifier that the huddle has ended and that it is time to begin the next play.

However, looking deeper, and referencing our above argument, clapping after a huddle is also a unifying act for football players.  Many football players would be unable to indicate when they first started to clap after a huddle.  But they simply do so because other players do.  And this act is a form of sportsmanship amongst teammates and acts as a form of team comradery.

Similarly, clapping in football after a huddle can be seen as a form of motivation.  The quick clap is a signifier of the upcoming play and reassures players of the chosen play.  Although the clap is quick, it is a motivating one and one that reassures players of their chosen play.

Furthermore, clapping after a huddle in football is also a subtle indicator of the play’s acceptance.  Typically, in football, either the quarterback or the head coach will determine the next play.   By giving a quick one-clap, the other players on the field are indicating the plays acceptance and indicating that they understand which route has been chosen.

Lastly, clapping after the huddle indicates the end of the huddle.  It is an easy, quick, and effective form of communication between teammates and acts as a seamless transition between the relay of the play to the sequence of play.