We will use your comments to offer you more relevant articles in the future. While a normal playbook has hundreds of plays, most teams choose between 75 and 100 throw plays and 15-20 rushing plays for a game while putting out a game plan for the week. The more varied your offense is, the harder it will be for defenses to prepare.
Playbooks can get quite large; the Chicago Bears' 2007 playbook was reported to be over 6 feet long. And true dual-threat quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady can have playbooks all their own. But overall, a football playbook averages about 50 pages. Playbooks are written by coaches who want to give their players a good chance of success on every play called.
The more variations in the playbook, the harder it is for defenses to prepare. This makes offenses with diverse playbooks difficult to defend against, which is why they tend to win more games than those using just one formation or strategy throughout the season.
As a rule of thumb, most college football teams use between 75 and 100 plays in a season. College football teams average around 70 minutes per game played. So in an average season, a team will call up to 20,000 plays! That's more than three million actions taken by an organization intent on winning the game.
But play numbers are only part of what makes a successful offense.
(It's also a luxury that NFL clubs enjoy in that if a player can't understand the playbook, he's cut and replaced with someone who can.) One apparent limitation on the number of plays is the amount of plays you can run in a game, which is restricted to about 50-70. The reason for this limit seems to be that players need time to rest between plays and stay healthy. However, there are exceptions to this rule. A quarterback can call his own plays directly from the sideline using hand signals if he's had enough time to study the defense during the break between series.
In fact, most quarterbacks call their own plays anyway, even if they're not allowed to. Studies have shown that almost all modern quarterbacks independently develop their own playbooks based on how they think opponents will defend them. This is why you often see very similar offensive schemes from team to team; coaches tend to use the same terminology they know their players will understand.
There are some cases where a coach might want to avoid giving his offense too much time off. For example, if a team is playing against a fast defense that needs to be taken down slowly, it might make sense to keep the opposing coach guessing by running multiple sets with a lot of reversals and changes of direction. But other than that, I can't think of any reason why you wouldn't let your quarterback call his own plays.
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The short answer is 500-1000. QBs, especially rookies, typically have this level of autonomy. According to Pro Football Reference, each NFL club has run between 947 (Cincinnati) and 1178 (Philadelphia) offensive plays through 14 games this season. The offense runs 67-84 plays each game on average. Assuming every play takes about the same amount of time, this means that most quarterbacks can call their own number within this range 1-3 times per game.
In addition to calling his own number, a quarterback will usually call a pass play or two when he feels the situation calls for it. This is another opportunity for him to show what he knows about the playbook so there's no doubt where he wants to go with the ball. Finally, he may choose to use one of his remaining opportunities to take a knee or throw an end-around instead. Overall, I'd say most quarterbacks know around 500-1000 plays during their career.
This number comes from directly observing and interviewing dozens of former quarterbacks over the years. As you might expect, not all players call their numbers in the same way. Some are given the job and left alone to make their own calls while others need more guidance from coaches or teammates. A few even claim they don't remember any of their plays from years past.
Regardless of how many plays they know, every quarterback should be able to identify their primary options based on the defense they're facing.