Why Do Quarterbacks Say White 80? Explained

Written By: Chris Haddad
Updated: February 12, 2024

When watching NFL games, it’s common to hear the quarterback say White 80 before the ball is snapped. This can often be mistaken by viewers as “180”.

Quarterbacks yell white 80 as a cadence to tell the center when to snap the football. When he says white 80, it lets the offense know he is ready to start the play.

In this article, we will show you why teams use White 80 and why you will hear quarterbacks use this cadence.

White 80 Quarterback Cadence

The quarterback starts the play on the offense. To have all ten other players move simultaneously, they will use what is called a cadence. A cadence is a set of instructions yelled out by the quarterback, letting his center know to snap the football.

There are multiple forms of communication that the quarterback uses; all can be found here.

In the NFL, the quarterback can run the play that was called, kill the play, move to the next, or use a hard count to fool the defense.

Each of these scenarios happens at the line of scrimmage when the quarterback is under center.

Snapping The Football Using White 80

White 80 is a common color and number combination which is used to snap the football.

In short, this is a cadence that alerts the rest of the offensive players that the ball is ready to be snapped.

First, the quarterback will often call out the “mike,” or the center point for the offensive line. Next, he will make any other adjustments or alerts that need to be made for the offensive line.

This may include protection slides or even wide receiver adjustments.

Once the quarterback feels comfortable with the line adjustments and the play call adjustments, he will begin the cadence.

For instance, players like Cam Newton use the White 80 cadences to start their play. Quarterbacks will often drag out the white 80, or they will say it twice.

Once they say white 80, it alerts the offense that the ball is coming. When a quarterback uses White 80, they often couple it with “set hut” after.

This alerts the center to snap the ball to the quarterback and start the play.

Using Kill or Can To Change The Play

Often, before or after a quarterback says white 80, he may change the play.


Why QB’s Say “Kill Kill” or “Can Can” before the play #nfl #americanfootball #tombrady

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He may change it late because the defense may show a blitz or some adjustment that will hurt the current play being run.

Quarterbacks are allowed to change the play at the line of scrimmage to put their team in the best position possible to run an explosive play.

When the quarterback says white 80, he may say “kill kill” or “can-can” during the cadence.

He says this because it means the quarterback is killing the current play, and they’re going to run the second play.

Offensive coordinators will often call two plays in the huddle.

The first one is the play that they’re going to run, and if the quarterback doesn’t like what the defense is giving them, he will call it “kill kill” or “can-can.” This means the second play is activated.

Once they activate the second play, the quarterback will say white 80, meaning he’s about to start the play.

White 80 is important to offenses because it keeps offenses in rhythm and on time. If the quarterback randomly says “set hut,” the offense would be off rhythm.

Using White 80 As A Hard Count

Using the cadence white 80 can be very effective, especially if it is a hard count. A hard count is when the quarterback will do his normal cadence, then either fake it or bluff it at the end.

Quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers are pros at doing this. They will go through their normal cadence, then at the end, they will yell “hut” very loudly, and the center won’t snap the ball.

These quarterbacks are hoping the defensive line will jump offsides, giving the offense a free play.

The reason offenses will use a hard count is to keep the defense guessing.

If the defense starts to get used to the quarterback saying white 80, they will time the cadence.

Offensive coordinators will tell the quarterback to use a hard count or a dummy count to get the defense to jump offsides.

If the defensive line is slow to get off the football, the offensive line will have the advantage at the point of attack.

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Cadence For The Offensive Line

White 80 may sound like 180 if you’re watching a football game. The reason they use color and a number is the flexibility to change the cadence for any purpose.

For example, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers will use White 80 and his main cadence, green 19.

Green 19 is the same as white 80, as it lets the offense know that the ball is soon to be snapped.

Quarterbacks have also used other phrases like the term blue 42, a cadence to let the offense know the ball will be snapped soon.

These color and number combinations can be changed to mean different things. It all depends on the offensive coordinator.

Keep Learning

It’s common to hear quarterbacks use white 80 as a cadence. This lets the offensive line know when the ball is going to be snapped.

Quarterbacks say white 80 to let the offense know that the ball is soon to be snapped.

For the offense to be in rhythm, quarterbacks will say white 80 in the same tone nearly every play.

White 80 is a color & number combination that can be changed based on the offensive coordinator’s needs.

Cadences in football allow the quarterback to change the play at any point to give the offense the best chance possible to make an impact play.

The term white 80 and green 19 are used to prepare the offense that the ball will soon be snapped.

Quarterbacks will use “kill kill” or “can-can” before the play and use white 80 as a dummy or hard count.

This is used to throw the defensive timing off, which will help the offense’s timing on their blocks and pass protection.

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About the author 

Chris Haddad

Chris Haddad is the founder of vIQtory Sports & high school coach for over 12+ years. He has been featured as an authority on Hudl, Bleacher Report and countless other football-centric platforms. Chris continues to study and provide valuable content for those looking to learn more about the game of football.