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October 9, 2004

Deaf QB developed the huddle

From: Rocky Mountain News, CO - Oct 8, 2004

By Clay Latimer, Rocky Mountain News
October 9, 2004

Every time they gather in a huddle to call a play, the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind Bulldogs celebrate an important part of their heritage.

Gallaudet University, a school for deaf and hearing-impaired students in Washington, D.C., was one of the first colleges to play football.

In 1894, the team's star quarterback, Paul Hubbard, was concerned that other teams were stealing his hand signals at the line of scrimmage. So he formed a circle of players to shield his signals.

In the process, he created the first huddle.

Times change, but not football.

Today, American Sign Language (ASL) is the third-most-used language in the United States; as a result, even hearing teams now watch CSDB coach Joe Manson as he sends plays into his quarterback.

"A lot of them are getting more familiar and improving their signing skills," Manson said.

As a result, Bulldogs quarterbacks wear wristbands that list plays numerically. Manson signals plays by their numerals, reducing the chance of a stolen signal.

2004 © The E.W. Scripps Co.