Why Do Nfl Coaches Wear Headsets

Football coach shouting and pumping fist on sideline

While watching football or any other sports, you may have noticed that coaches wear headsets. They often speak into them, even though they are surrounded by their staff. So, what are those headsets for, and who are they talking to? You may be wondering if they’re using the headsets to communicate with players during the game. Understanding why coaches wear headsets can enhance your appreciation of the game, as you’ll know what they’re doing when they’re speaking into those devices.

Why Do Coaches Wear Headsets?

Temple coach Al Golden on the headset against Buffalo on September26, 2009 in Philadelphia, PA.

Coaches wear headsets to communicate with other coaches on their team. While the head coach may receive the most media attention, there are other coaches in the box who have a bird’s eye view of the field. They can provide the head coach with information about formations, player injuries, and the performance of the quarterback. This information can then be relayed to the head coach through the headset. Moreover, coaches can also communicate with their quarterbacks through these devices. So, if you see a coach wearing a headset, it means they are in communication with coaches and players who are not in close proximity.

When Did Coaches Start Wearing Headsets?

Overheadshot of headset on background with copyspace. Call center concept

The use of headsets for coach-player communication dates back to 1956. The Cleveland Browns, wanting to provide instructions to their quarterbacks during plays, introduced a radio receiver in their helmets. This invention, created by Ohio inventors, allowed coaches to secretly communicate with their quarterbacks. The NFL eventually banned this technology, considering it gave teams an unfair advantage. However, in 1994, the NFL introduced a regulated system for headsets. Motorola initially manufactured the headsets and receivers, but Bose became the official supplier in 2014. Headsets, once banned, are now a common sight on the sidelines of NFL games.

Can Quarterbacks Hear the Coach?

American football quarterback in stadium throwing ball

Yes, quarterbacks can hear the coach through their headsets. However, the NFL has regulations in place to ensure fair play. Only two players on the field can have a receiver in their helmets: one on the offensive side and one on the defensive side. Usually, it’s the quarterback on offense and a player leading the defense. This limitation prevents confusion and ensures that the game moves smoothly. Additionally, all communication stops 15 seconds before the game clock runs down to prevent one team from gaining an unfair advantage.

What Are the Benefits of Coaches Wearing a Headset?

Commentator headsets on the table next to the football field. Stream for television and radio

The use of headsets on the field has improved the game in several ways. Here are some benefits:

1. Faster Communication

Coach observing football match

Headsets enable faster communication between coaches and quarterbacks. Coaches can quickly relay information from other coaches to the quarterback without the need for them to run back and forth to the sidelines. This allows the game to flow smoothly, focusing more on the action itself.

2. Better Play Calls

Zala Predators (blue) and Pecs Gringos (white) american football teams participate in Hungarian Championship, April 4, 2009 in Kozarmisleny, Hungary.

Headsets facilitate better play calls. Coaches can communicate with the coaches in the box, who can provide real-time information about the game. The head coach can then modify plays accordingly, leading to more effective strategies. This results in a more exciting and dynamic game.

3. Speedier Games

Football player making a tackle during a game

Headsets have contributed to speeding up the pace of the game. Previously, quarterbacks had to run to the sidelines for instructions, often wasting valuable time. With headsets, coaches can quickly communicate with their quarterbacks, saving precious minutes and making the game more enjoyable for fans.

4. Less Risk of Spying

Team of young American football players lining up in formation during an afternoon practice session

Wearing headsets reduces the risk of spying, which is a concern in the NFL. Coaches cover their mouths when sharing important information to prevent lip-readers from deciphering their play calls. Headsets allow coaches to safely instruct their players without worrying about the opposing team intercepting their communication. This ensures fair play and a more enjoyable game for everyone.


Coaches wear headsets to communicate with other coaches and players. Headsets provide faster communication, better play calls, speedier games, and decrease the risk of spying. While the benefits are evident, it’s interesting to note that headsets were only legalized in the NFL in 1994. To learn more about NFL-related topics, visit NokiaMA Headset Design.

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