Thursday, September 10, 2015

What's A Long Snapper?

Since yesterday, I've heard this question more than once. The fact that this question is asked at all serves to illustrate why it's so important to support your local Long Snapper.

A Long Snapper, friends, is a position in American football. He's the guy who snaps the ball, long.

He's not the Center. The Center snaps the ball, short, into the Quarter Back's hands which are placed in the Center's crotch. Awkward, yes, but a fairly easy target, one's own crotch. It's trickier when the target is 15 yards away and aimed at from an upside down position.

The punt, extra point, and field goal situations require the guy in the middle (but not the Center) to snap the ball over a long distance. Hence, Long Snapper.

From Wikipedia:
" During field goals and point after touchdown, the snap is received by the holder typically 7-8 yards away. During punt plays the snap is delivered to the punter from 13-15 yards away. "
Accuracy is key. A bad snap can make the difference in the outcome of a game. Even so:
" Long snappers are usually amongst the least known players in the NFL, because of their highly specialized and relatively invisible role on the field. "
Which is what makes them ever so special. Even though every team in the NFL now has a specialized Long Snapper, they are generally not drafted as such. Long Snappers are usually acquired as free agents into another position before finding their true calling.
" The first pure long snapper to have been picked in the draft was Tyler Schmitt, a sixth round pick (189th overall) in 2008, selected by the Seattle Seahawks. "
Seahawks are so cutting edge.

For my Chicago friends who are curious about Long Snappers, belongs to Chicago Bear's Long Snapper Patrick Mannelly, only recently retired. Of all people, Bears fans should know what a Long Snapper is!

Another excellent website for up-to-the minute Long Snapper news is which now appears as a link on this page, to your right. Among other things, this site describes the NFL and NCAA rules that apply regarding Long Snappers, namely that a defensive player can't line up against the Long Snapper (NFL) or initiate contact until at least one second has elapsed after the start of play (NCAA).

Now you know what a Long Snapper is and what makes him special. This is the first year I've seen an NFL jersey for the Long Snapper and as soon as I saw it, I snapped one up.


Seriously, though, the first jersey I got for a player on Special Teams was #3 Josh Brown (when he played for the Seattle Seahawks). I had to have it made because there was no such thing as a Kicker's jersey at the time. Soon after, Special Teams fever kicked in (can't help myself) and Josh Brown jerseys were everywhere. (There had to have been at least half a dozen of them.)

I'm not surprised that the current Kicker, Steven Haushka, has a jersey available. People have come to realize how important the Kicker is and admire his contribution. Haushka ties for first place for longest field goal made in 2014 at 58 yards, has a 100% field goal average for attempts between 20 and 39 yards, and made 100% of all extra point attempts. He scored a total of 134 points for the Seahawks last year which ties him for fourth highest scorer in the entire freaking league.

The Long Snapper, Clint Gresham, didn't score a single point last year but that doesn't make him any less deserving of a jersey.

Think about this: In the Peanuts cartoon, you have Lucy as Holder and Charlie Brown as Kicker but there's no Long Snapper! For the Seahawks, Jon Ryan is Holder to Haushka's Charlie Brown but unlike the cartoon, you have to have a Long Snapper to start the play in the NFL. The Long Snapper is the one to make the whole thing possible. Without him, there is no Haushka and you can kiss those 134 points goodbye.

For the Seattle Seahawks, Clint Gresham is that guy - #49, Long Snapper. My hero. And you can get his jersey here.


Ted Compton said...

And all this time I thought it was just an unusually large fish.

Lynn C Dot said...