And speaking of Cleveland, it was actually that particular team that started the whole coach-to-player communication gambit. Only they did it surreptitiously, on the sly, on the down low, back in the ’50s. You could say they were cheaters. Or innovators. Because it was two Ohio inventors who created a small radio receiver that they inserted into the helmet of then-Cleveland Browns quarterback George Ratterman.
They actually got away with it , pulled it off for four games, too, before the Detroit Lions suspected something nefarious was afoot and reported the team to the league. Then-NFL commissioner Bert Bell was none-too-pleased with this technological tomfoolery besmirching the game, and the Browns were ordered to stop.
Los Angeles Rams
And stop they did.
And for years afterward, no on-field communication between players and coaches was allowed at all. However, that all changed in 1993, the same year the NFL shortened the play clock from 45 seconds to 40 seconds. Teams weren’t exactly thrilled about that because it led to the coaches having to burn more timeouts. So, in 1994, the league allowed quarterbacks to have a radio in their helmets so they could communicate with the sideline.
But only with coaches on the sidelines, not coordinators sitting up in the booths. Oh, and both teams must share the airwaves, that is, both teams are on the same radio frequency, too, in case you were wondering about that. If you’ve ever heard old-timers talk about days of yore with party lines? That’s what we are talking about.