Peyton beat the Chargers with hard counts, and “Omaha”


Peyton Manning didn’t only use his arm to beat the Chargers on Sunday. He also used his voice.

Manning’s hard count so frustrated the Chargers that they were flagged for neutral zone infractions a whopping five times. That was very unlike the Chargers: According to, the Chargers had only three neutral zone infraction penalties in their previous 17 games.

But the hard count wasn’t the aspect of Manning’s cadence that had people talking during the Chargers-Broncos game. What really got everyone’s attention was the way Manning yelled “Omaha” dozens of times during the game.

We don’t know what exactly “Omaha” means in the Broncos’ offense, but “Omaha” has long been a part of the football lexicon. Tom Brady has used it in the past as part of the Patriots’ signal-calling, and NBC’s Cris Collinsworth noted during a 2009 game that Peyton’s brother Eli Manning seemed to be tipping the Cowboys off to the Giants’ snap count because whenever Eli yelled “Omaha,” the next word out of his mouth was the signal for the center to snap the ball.

If Peyton has any similar tells for his use of “Omaha,” the Chargers weren’t able to figure it out. Perhaps Patriots coach Bill Belichick can crack the code.

89 responses to “Peyton beat the Chargers with hard counts, and “Omaha”

  1. That was hilarious. He even got them to jump twice in one series after he yelled “Omaha”.

  2. Every QB has a call for when the play-clock is running down to get everyone set. “Omaha” is common among a few QBs.
    “Hurry hurry” is what Peyton used up until this switch to Omaha.
    Favre’s Blue 32.
    Rodgers’ 319. Lots of them.
    Great use of the hardcount and while Peyton used it well, the real credit should go to the oline, TE and WRs for being so disciplined on not jumping themselves.

  3. It was masterful stuff, awesome to watch.

    Now… if they can keep the D from folding in the 4th quarter, they’d be unbeatable.

    4 FULL Quarters of Defense… 4 of them.

  4. Please, more analysis of games along these lines (the change in a count, some differences in offensive play, use of chip blocks, whatever), as opposed to non-football related drama. Please.

  5. If we’re going just by the frequency and timing with which he uses it, I’m guessing that “Omaha” usually means, “Yes, in exchange for payment, I will endorse that.”

  6. I’m pretty sure that Omaha means go on next sound. The thing with Peyton Manning is that he seems to change the meaning of it from time to time. We called it the “Peyton Manning is smarter than you” penalty!

  7. I swear I heard Rivers using”why are we running the ball against the 28th ranked defense” before most of his snaps yesterday.

  8. Are you guys really flipping out over “Omaha”? It is the word he uses to single that he is staring his cadence. So the snap call is already called, they he will audible or dummy audible, switch sides if he wants, get everyone lined up right, then say Omaha. After he says Omaha everything else is the snap count. For example if the snap is on two it would be all his audibles etc. then Omaha then ut-hut). The Omaha is not what tricked San Diego, San Diego must have had a tell to his actual snap count and he changed this to trick them.

  9. Omaha generally means “opposite” so to flip the play. Sometimes it means something else and sometimes it’s a dumbie call that means nothing.

  10. One of the times the Chargers jumped, Peyton jerked his hands like he was catching the ball. That has been called for a false start more than once. Not on Peyton though.

  11. As an avid bronco fan I can tell you it signals the start of the actual snap count. He varies between Omaha and hurry hurry, often changing series to series. What throws teams off is not just the change, but the fact that it merely signals the start of the REAL snap count which isn’t always on one and that when one is the real snap count, the other is the signal for no snap count.

    He also seems to vary what Omaha means based on the number of times he says it. (ie: Omaha, Omaha or just Omaha). I have yet to pick up on any tells in that regard. Generally tho, manning isn’t an idiot and knows when the other guys think they know something. Lol.

  12. When I played QB a million years ago, we just used ‘Ready, Set, Go’. That was the whole snap count. Go on Go.

    Every 3rd or 5th or 7th or whatever no one would move and the opponents jumped every time. Of course, some OL guys would jump from time to time too. Worked for the most part.

  13. I find it hard to believe that after the first couple times that the chargers were so careless. For a playoff team to continue to make the same mistake, it was on the d-line players, how about focusing on the ball guys its right in front of you.

  14. Usually a term like Omaha is used as precursor to the snap count. Many times they’ll use a term like Omaha to let everyone know if its a real command or not.

    He’ll yell Omaha and then the snap count but Omaha lets the O lineman know that the command is a dummy.

    Then they’ll change what Omaha means at half time….

    I imagine Manning would give Kasparov a run for his money…

  15. ah yes. Aaron Rodgers said 3-19 a LOT. I figured it couldn’t be a play, since he said it so much.

  16. Also, doesn’t he wave his hands back and forth over his head like a circus clown yelling “Call my Agent! I’m available for Parties!!”

  17. It was so simple, anyone paying attention on TV could understand what Manning was doing.

    ALL the “hut-huts” and anything else he said BEFORE he said “Omaha” meant NOTHING.

    If his snap count was on two (meaning the second ‘hut’), it was the 2nd ‘hut’ AFTER he yelled ‘Omaha.’ If his snap count (called in the huddle) was “on 1” (the first ‘hut’), it was the 1st ‘hut’ after he yelled “Omaha.”

    I understood what he was doing but the Chargers didn’t? Seriously?! He fooled them with an obvious “code.”

  18. Cris Collinsworth made the same comment during the 2009 Sunday Night against the Cardinals when the Cards D destroyed Eli.

  19. Maybe Peyton had an unforgettable time in Omaha, I don’t know, but he has used the word for years. I do not believe he was using it for “next word is snap” because I was looking for that.

    Actually, I wish he would have fun in Miami or Mexico or somewhere, I’m tired of hearing him bellow “Omaha!”

  20. The frustrating part for defenses is i’d bet money “omaha” means something different on every posession.

  21. My understanding is the same as others on here. “Omaha” typically means he is ready for the snap and the “real” snap count is beginning. From what I have seen “hurry hurry” is usually used when the play clock is running down and basically means “snap it now I don’t have time to say Omaha”.

    Other Qb’s use different triggers to indicate they are ready for the snap and very few change the cadence or snap count all that often.

  22. rather than give credit to manning’s use of hard count and “omaha”, i would more so place blame on SD’s defensive line. WAIT TIL THE BALL IS SNAPPED for cryin out loud. it isn’t that difficult of a concept.

    at the end of the day though, whisenhunt deserves the blame. i think it is obvious he didn’t prepare properly and spend more thinking about his next hc gig than getting ready for denver. his gameplan/play calling were poor.

    thanks ken for killing the chargers’ playoff run for selfish reasons.

    and this is coming from an eagles season ticket holder…

  23. Manning’s system is much too complicated. They should adopt the Dolphins simple system where “Go” = pass and “Go Go” = run.

  24. Just as a tip, don’t yell “Jerry”, “Jerry”, “Jerry”.

    Everytime the Packers did that against the 49ers it was a bad play.

  25. Next week they’ll be reporting on Tom Brady’s use of “Alpha” before snapping the ball. These guys have been using the same cadences for years and sportswriters are finally noticing?

  26. I’ve been hearing “Omaha” all season, and that “X is the mike” callout is equally not-new.

    The only real change is that Denver got an extra half-beat to get that call instead of a false start for not reacting immediately.

  27. My favorite part of watching Peyton Manning is when, on most plays, he points at the Mike. He tells his whole team who the “Mike” is.
    It’s funny as hell and he’s right most of the time.

  28. I have no problems with giving the offense an advantage, but lets at least make them earn it. Next year, they should flag the QB for all those hutt hutt head bobs. I mean c’mon, man. I saw 1 play where Manning did the hutt hutt, point at some random guys, hutt hutt, point at more random guys, hutt hutt, hold out his hands, OMAHA, hike, all while head bobbing after each hutt hutt. That should be a false start on the QB every time.

    And I think i know what the Omaha might mean. It’s “hey guys, i’m going to try to draw them offsides with my lame antics pre-snap, if they don’t bite, i’ll yell Omaha and that means to hike the ball for realz! Ya dig?”

  29. Omaha, as another commenter mentioned, probably means something new on each drive. Significant and useful, but different.

  30. the broncos added that 1/2 beat to the final call after all the Omaha’s.
    and McCoy didn’t figure it out in time.
    he thought he had the “tell” figured out…and Manning and the Broncos made him pay

  31. Never fear, the cheaters in New England will surely figure it out. Ernie Adams was spotted in Denver yesterday.

  32. Just put cheat guru Ernie Adams on the case. Ill bet all the cheap furniture I own that he already has cheesy ol Omaha cracked. The asterisks next to the NE wins just keep adding up. Sad.

  33. I’m sure that part of his count is to the receivers, I’m throwing the ball to you be ready’.
    No way he can get rid of the ball in 1.5 seconds before the pass rush hits him and have the receiver ready to catch it.
    My take is its something they devised to keep the defense from taking him out with a hit to the neck.
    No one else is doing this. He looks at the d figures who is going to be open and cadences that to the receiver.

  34. McCoy probably thought he had the tell on the snap count, and fed it to his defense, but fetushead was ready. 15 or so years ago, when the Raiders were decent, Greg Biekert figured out the calls, and Oakland had a good second half against Manning. Biekert figured out when a draw, counter, or pass was coming by the numbers Manning called out. It is much more sophisticated now. But Omaha Steaks is still a bad deal. Don’t buy frozen steak at premium prices.

  35. So far I have read a dozen different meanings on here. If a pro DC can’t figure it out then Johnny couch potato isn’t going to get it exactly. Idaho, Idaho, Ida endorsement ho!

  36. It’s pretty obvious what happened here. McCoy knew Manning’s cadences from being the coordinator last year, and the Broncos saw on the film from the previous game that the Chargers were getting good jumps on the snap. The Chargers came in prepared for those cadences, but Manning switched it up on them and hence all the offside penalties.

    I don’t ever remember there being so many mics on the field and hearing the QB so clearly. The good news for the Patriots is that they won’t even need to spy on Denver this week — they can get it straight from the CBS tape! (Chill, Pats fans — just a joke).

  37. there’s a lot of theories on here that Omaha means ‘snap on one’ or similar, but that’s BS.

    Manning was using Omaha with as much as 20 seconds on the play clock and changing the play afterward. He also used other City and State names throughout the game. So all you guys who think you know… don’t know… and obviously the Chargers have no idea.

  38. He does that every game. Why is this suddenly discovered? Has Peyton never been on TV before?
    Also, Omaha usually means the next sound is the snap. But once or twice a game it doesn’t, and the defense gets caught jumping EVERY time because they got used to it.
    Peyton also yells “heidi heidi” a lot.
    And “hurry hurry”.
    Calls out the middle linebacker’s number.
    A dozen other things. Thanks for the insight.

  39. This is SOOO obvious..

    Peyton gets his offensive line to relax until he says Omaha. Then the snap count means something. Until he says Omaha, the Oline can relax. That is why he was so upset when Julius Thomas jumped offsides before he yelled Omaha. Generally..every time he yelled Omaha, he hiked it pretty soon afterwards. That was all to keep his Oline from jumping.

    An EASY way to beat this would been…
    The Oline was coached, when the defense jumps, you jump to draw the encroachment call. That should be illegal, but they made that rule to help Peyton. To defeat it…Until Peyton yells Omaha…have the Dline jump around, towards the line…but do NOT go over the line. Get a lot of Dline movement so you can get the Oline to jump. They did that once, and were not in the neutral zone, yet got called for encroachment. What they should have done was told the referees ahead of time, we are going to jump around trying to get the Oline to jump, but we will not go across.

    Pretty soon…Peyton would have given up that crap.

  40. I should be a defensive coordinator..I could beat Peyton and Brady.

    With Brady…I would have crossing linebackers to match the crossing receivers from the Patriots. Brady mostly throws underneath short throws to receivers that have a couple feet of separation from defenders chasing them.

    I would let the receivers catch the ball, but look for the crossing linebacker that is going to catch them with a collision in the opposite direction. It would give Brady and his receivers something to think about, rather than just beating the guy that is behind them. Make them think about the defender coming in the opposite direction.

  41. Charger fans, do not hang your head, but be proud of your team, not matter what the Denver fans say or do, just remember that the Chargers beat Peyton and Denver before and they will do it again next season, where Mr. Peyton Manning is there or not. Just like so many other times, Peyton can be had “beaten”, and that proves he is human just like the rest of us and is not some “Saint” like so many sports writers try to make him out to be. Stay cool Charger fans, just remember “your day &time ” is coming. I am just curious, but just how many of the Chargers main players ” WR’s,R B’s, O-linemen, defensive players and etc.” were out due to injuries compared to Denver ? Correct me if I am wrong, but from what I gathered, it was like the Chargers were playing their 2nd string players, due to so many main players being on the injury list. I am not using as an excuse, or saying that it would have made a lot of difference in the out come of the game, I just think that it sure would not have hurt anything to have had all of your main players playing. Does anyone else agree or disagree ? Has anybody heard who the next “O C” for the Chargers will be ?

  42. From my understanding, the “Omaha” call signals to his offensive linemen that’s when the snap count is beginning, as opposed to pre-Omaha “hut’s”.

    There are also teams that may have a “live color” such as Green Bay’s “Green 19” or Chicago’s “White 80” that signals to the offensive lineman that the blocking scheme is normal for that play. If they change that color it means that the blocking scheme changes to whatever is assigned to that color for that game. The numbers generally signal to the wide receivers what routes are supposed to be run.

  43. I have a question for anybody, what do you think would happen or Peyton would do, if every time that Peyton started doing all of this signal calling “like the Omaha and etc.” that the defensive players would start shouting out all kinds of different things and at the same time all of the defensive players “except for the nose tackle ” would start moving around like they were shifting to difference positions but in reality they were not moving to difference positions but keeping an eye on what Peyton was doing and watching Peyton’s eyes. Because no matter who the QB is, “even Peyton, uses his eyes to do different things, depending up on the call he plans to make. for anybody that has played football and especially defense, knows what i am taking about, by just watching a Q B’s eyes you can learn a lot about the person and in a very short time.

  44. swagger52

    Sweet play dude. You could totally beat the 2 sure-fire hall of fame QBs of our generation.

    Just make sure those crossing linebackers don’t let a TE get wide open behind them. Or, be so consumed with the pass that they get mauled by a run up the gut.

    And oh, if you drop down a safety to help those crossing linebackers, hopefully your corners don’t get torched deep.

    Go get em champ!

  45. To All San Diego Charger fans, one question that has always bothered me and i was wondering if any of the Charger fans had even thought about it. But why is it that year after year “just like this year”, why do the Chargers ALWAYS have so many of the main players on IR near the end of the season ? As for myself, i can not believe that it is any coincidence and that it keeps happening year after year and always right near the end of the season. Please explain to me just what good does it do to even get into the play offs, if all of your main players are sitting on the side lines with injuries and unable to play ? While the other teams have all of their main players playing in the game and here you are trying to play with your back up players or your 2nd string of players, just who do you think is going to win the games ? Do not get me wrong, i know that near the end of the season all teams have injured players and players on IR. But just compare the Chargers main players that are on I R, “come play off time ” to any other team and just see for your self who has the most players on IR ? Then decide for your own self .

  46. It probably means nothing. Most of the time QBs will raise a leg or stomp when they are ready. It’s a silent count, the o-line will watch the ball just like the defense will. They use it mostly at away games when crowd noise overrides the cadence.

  47. Maybe he is just a Counting Crows fan and you can’t here him say “somewhere in middle America”.

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