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Today every team in the NFL uses the silent snap count. Many centers signal its start by turning their heads to the side once or twice, but the basics are still the ones Mudd put in place in 1998 with the Colts.
MOMENTS OF true vindication in a man's life are rare, but Mudd's came at a 2006 meeting of the NFL Competition Committee. He had been asked to attend as a consultant on a proposed rule change having nothing to do with the silent snap count, but during the session then Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, whose entire career as an NFL defensive coach (1985--94) had been square in the sack-happy era, launched into a sustained objection to the growing use of the silent count. Fisher complained that the count was giving offensive linemen—here it came—an unfair advantage! When the center lifted or turned his head to signal that the silent count had begun, Fisher argued, he violated the rule against linemen moving before the snap of the ball.
"The rule says that the center has to come to a complete stop for a full second before the ball is snapped," said Fisher. He went on about it for some time, making the same point: It wasn't fair!
Eventually Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, an old offensive coordinator, started chuckling. "Jeff, when are you supposed to go on defense anyway?" he asked.
"Well, they are drawing us offside, and they are not supposed to," argued Fisher.
"Jeff, when are you supposed to go on defense?" Holmgren repeated.
"They are not coming to a full stop!"
"Jeff, when are you supposed to go?"
Finally Fisher conceded, "When the ball goes."
Howard Mudd's revolution was complete.