What’s the first name that comes to mind when you hear an NFL quarterback yell “Omaha!” at the line of scrimmage on Sundays? There’s only one correct answer to that question, and it’s Peyton Manning.
Manning made the infamous “Omaha” call famous after he joined the Denver Broncos in 2012, but he was far from the first quarterback to utilize the verbal signal at the line of scrimmage. The soon-to-be Hall of Famer recently admitted “Omaha” wasn’t even his brainchild, proving that everything we thought we knew about the NFL might just be a lie.
What does “Omaha” mean on the football field?
We hear it every week during football season. A quarterback will rush his offense up to the line, scream “Omaha” to signal an audible or a snap count, then receive the snap and continue with the play.
Manning was the most well-known user of the term, and he explained the simple meaning behind it during a recent appearance on Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take podcast.
“It’s just kind of a rhythmic, three-syllable word that usually meant … it was like an alert. ‘Hey there’s just two or three seconds on the clock and I need it snapped now,'” Manning explained.
Given how quickly the Manning-led Broncos ran their offense, “Omaha” was used quite often at the line of scrimmage. Manning was always leading the team on no-huddle drives in which he had to communicate plays and snap counts quickly, and “Omaha” just became his most popular call-out.
The term became so attached to Manning that he still hears it five years into his retirement.
“I think Warren Buffet thought it was named after him. It was not. It was no real rhyme or reason, but now I walk through an airport and a guy just yells, ‘Omaha!’ I just turn around and wave and keep walking,” he said. “I don’t even get called by my name anymore. I just get called ‘Omaha.'”
Manning surprisingly admits “Omaha” wasn’t his brainchild
Every NFL fan probably just assumes “Omaha” came from Manning himself. After all, he has become the poster child for the term over the last decade.
But surprisingly, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
While speaking with Pardon My Take, Manning admitted he doesn’t know where “Omaha” came from. All he knows is he definitely wasn’t the first quarterback to use it.
It’s funny. ‘Omaha’ has kind of been out there for a while. [Tom] Brady used to say it in New England. Eli [Manning] said it with the Giants. It’s kind of a term that has been out there. Nobody really claims who started it. Was it in the [Bill Parcells] era that somehow got to New England with Brady and then got to the Giants? Whatever it was, it was out there.
When I got to Denver, we started saying it there, and that was right when they turned those NFL sideline microphones up louder where you, the viewer at home, can hear everything that’s being said. And all of a sudden, ‘Omaha’ kind of got attributed to me because we were going no-huddle. We were changing the play a lot.Peyton Manning
What a disappointing revelation.
Manning actually received the key to the city of Omaha
Manning eventually became so attached to the “Omaha” signal that the city of Omaha itself actually gave him a key to the city back in 2014.
“Next thing you know, I’m getting the key to the city of Omaha. I’m getting stuff delivered to my house. It ended up being a pretty good word to pick,” Manning said.
Knowing what we know now, Manning should have to return the key and disassociate from the word “Omaha” altogether. We must get to the bottom of this mystery once and for all and track down the true origin of the “Omaha” call-out, for Manning has been living a lie for far too long.