Why does Peyton Manning keep yelling Omaha?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Peyton Manning is probably going to say Omaha a lot during the Super Bowl. But what does it mean?

SB Nation 2014 NFL Playoff Coverage

If you've watched any football coverage over the last minute, or just paid attention to media, you've heard about Peyton Manning yelling Omaha. He used the call dozens of times in the divisional round, scaled it back against the Patriots a bit, and likely will be heard screaming OMAHA in the Super Bowl. But why is Peyton Manning yelling Omaha?

To understand the call, there's a bit of context to understand. Manning is known for gesticulating and yelling at the line of scrimmage. His specialty is lining up, seeing what the defense is giving, then changing around the offense to exploit what he sees. Sometimes it's for show. Sometimes it's not. And trying to decode him as a defensive player is futile.

But we do know a few of the things Manning does at the line of scrimmage. At times, he'll walk up and go through the motions with a show-me hard count (watch him walk up, get under center, and yell "hut-hut." It doesn't really mean anything, other than buying some time to see what the defense is showing, and perhaps get lucky and pull a guy offsides.

He'll then call out the middle linebacker -- you'll hear Manning say XX is MIKE (in Seattle's case the XX is 54) to set the protection. Everything typically pivots off the middle backer, thus the call.

Manning, like other quarterbacks, also uses code words to change the play. Some flip it, some change it completely. An example here is "FAT MAN" from the AFC Championship. Chris B. Brown smartly posited that this was likely a change to a belly run (fat man … belly). These codes change every week.

By the time Manning is done bouncing around the line of scrimmage, waving his arms, and checking the play, time may be running out. Thus you get OMAHA. Simply, Omaha is a hurry up and go call. He'll call out OMAHA (sometimes stretched out as O-MA-HA, and the next sound signals to snap it.

The curveball here is Manning's hard count. Everyone knows Omaha. It's not an uncommon call. But every once in a while, and sometimes more frequently, Manning will yell Omaha, then another word (set, hit, whatever), in an attempt to get the defense to jump. Whether it's triggered by an earlier word or the cadence of Omaha, or something else completely like a call in the huddle, can change every week too.

You'll also note that Omaha is not unique to Peyton Manning. See his little brother:

You can bet on the number of times Manning will say OMAHA during the Super Bowl -- the line was set at 27.5 -- and there'll be plenty of talk about his love for the Nebraska town. But the word serves a very functional purpose, just as any other quarterback's cadence (Russell Wilson will use Blue or White and a number, for instance) tells a story.

SB Nation's Super Bowl coverage

Live updating Super Bowl scoreboard | How to watch the Super Bowl online

#MANNINGFACE: Peyton Manning Super Bowl mood chart | #Lookit

Percy Harvin returns kickoff for TD | Super Bowl prop bets

Watch the Super Bowl commercials | Watch the mini-Seinfeld reunion

Bruno Mars, Chili Peppers deliver | Ranking every halftime show ever

Jon Bois' crazy Breaking Madden Super Bowl basically came true

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.