During halftime of any football game, the team usually retreats into their locker room to prepare for the second half. This is when the head coach or other coaches can provide their athletes with a halftime speech. The speech can also be given by a player who is good at motivating their fellow players. Depending on how the game has gone in the first half, halftime speeches will differ, but the goal of every speech is to affect the outcome of the rest of the game.
If the team is losing at the half, the halftime speech will most likely be aimed at motivating the team to do better in the second half. Coaches want to improve on the playing from the first half, and will often use this time to adjust their team to play better. The halftime speech will be tailored to how both their team and the opposing team has been playing. If there is something specific the coach thinks they can do differently, he will let the players know. Of course, all of this is meant to be encouraging. Most coaches want to build their players up to do better, rather than tear them down for what they did wrong. So, rather than focus on the bad things in the first half, the coach can instead focus on what they want to do well in the second. This way, players are looking forward to the next half, instead of regretting the first half.
If a team is winning at half, the coach may not have as many corrections to comment on. However, this does not mean a speech isn't needed. Here, the coaches will work to maintain the momentum the team had in the first half, making sure that they play with the same energy and skill that they did to put them ahead. This can also be a time for coaches to compliment the playing of specific athletes in order to boost their confidence in themselves in the team. While this type of speech may not be as demanding as one when the team is down, it is just as essential to continuing the game to a win.
There have been many halftime speeches that have been majorly influential to the rest of that game. One significant one occurred in 1928 at Notre Dame University from Coach Knute Rockne. After not scoring during the first half, he asked his players to win the game for an alumnus that had died recently, and went to individual players addressing what he wanted from them. The team would go one to win the game.
Many famous coaches have been known for incredible halftime speeches: Alabama head coach Paul Bryant was known for his soft spoken and meaningful speeches, while his successor Nick Saban's motivational screams could be heard from the stands during halftime. Each coach has their way of talking to their team, all dependent on the coach, the players, and the game.