Breaking Down a Play Call

Posted on September 23, 2013


With apologies to those just arriving, I’ve decided to take down some of the original content of this post. The purpose was always simply to try to break down some of the terminology in the Eagles’ system. Below are the parts I feel can be left up:

Here’s Brian Billick explaining a play call:

Having trouble embedding this other video, but if you want to see Billick give another example, click here.

Note how Billick, a candidate for the Eagles coaching job this past summer, prides himself on the lengthy calls (ironic given that he advocates using “concise” verbiage in Finding the Winning Edge). And here’s an exceptional piece from last year about offensive play calls, with a special focus on Chip Kelly and the Patriots, although Kelly has stated that the article overstates his influence.

The Patriots’ system is a blend of [numbers and verbiage] that leans heavily on verbiage. Regular play calls include a word that combines two or three concepts. For example, “crunch” signifies a crossing route, with another “under” route run beneath it. A typical play call would be “39 crack blow.” Three words tell the tale.

In and Choice are examples of two more words that can tell multiple people what to do with just one word. Chris Brown used the image below to illustrate those particular concepts in one of his routinely phenomenal pieces for Grantland.

Posted in: Eagles, Uncategorized