Boomer Esiason was an NFL quarterback for 14 seasons with Bengals, Jets, and Cardinals. The following is from the book: “Blood, Sweat and Chalk” by Tim Layden (Sports Illustrated Books, 2010). Esiason breaks down all that goes into calling a play in a ‘No-Huddle’ offense.
As soon as the previous play ended, Sam (Wyche) would send the next personnel group onto the field, and then he would signal to me with one had to let me know what the personnel group was that was coming into the game. Then he would signal me with one hand for the play.
Say he gives me “regular” personnel: halfback, fullback, tight end, two wide receivers, and we’re running a play called 28 Grace, which is the halfback to the strong side. He would give me a hand signal for the play. I would have to know which formations we could use for that play— pro right, far double wing right, hum short, trips right—and then I would choose the formation I wanted to run and communicate that to everybody on the field. This would all happen in the first five seconds after the referee spots the ball.
So then I yell, “Regular! Regular! Regular!” That’s so the people who are not in the regular personnel group know to get off the field. Then I would yell the formation. Next was the play. In a huddle I would have said, “28 Grace”, but even though defensive players are stupid, almost anybody who has ever played football knows that even numbers mean a run to the right. Se we needed code words.
Our code words for the “2” back were Raider, Oakland and Millen, because Matt Millen was playing for the Raiders at the time. Then I had to call right. Our right words were Denver, Trigger, and Orange. Our left words were Dallas, Bullet and Black. The blocking scheme was Grace, so I could just say Grace or sometimes I would say Bible or Jesus.
So we’re getting lined up, and I would say, “Hum Raider Denver Bible!” Then I would throw out a dummy call, like “399 Fly”, that meant absolutely nothing. Then the snap count, which was also words. That was back when Bo Jackson was doing all those Nike commercials, so our code was A (snap on one hut) Bo (snap on two) Can (three) Do It (Four). So I’m yelling , “Hum Raider Denver Bible! 399 Fly! Do It Do It Do It Hut Hut Hut Hut!”
— Boomer Esiason, “Blood, Sweat and Chalk” Pages 236-237