American Football Database

Diagram of a punt formation, the long snapper or deep snapper is indicated by the blue "DS"

In the punt formation, the long snapper or deep snapper is the center of the interior line (#58 in blue)

In American football and Canadian football, the term long snapper refers to a player who is a specialized center during punts, field goals, and extra point attempts. His job is to snap the ball as quickly and accurately as possible.

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. Following the snap the snapper often executes a blocking assignment, and on a punt he must cover the kick. A good, consistent long snapper is hard to find, and many marginally talented players have found a niche exclusively as long snappers.

A "bad snap" is an off-target snap which causes the delay of a kick or the failure of a play.

In college football

Many college football teams run a spread punt formation which can free the snapper from blocking assignments and allows for concentration on covering the return or downing the ball farther inside the opponent's territory. A traditional or "cup" formation typically gives the snapper a blocking assignment before covering the punt. The snapper in a punt formation can be referred to as a deep snapper or long snapper synonymously and the term short snapper is reserved for the snapper in field goal or PAT formations, but these terms are often used loosely. Scholarships for snappers used to be rare, but are becoming more popular as colleges begin to recognize the importance of special teams.

In the NFL

Before specialization, the long snapper was often a player who primarily played another position. A recent example would be Allen Aldridge, who started at linebacker for the Detroit Lions and also served as the team's long snapper.[1] This allowed the team to dress another non-specialist player. Now, every team in the NFL has a specialized long snapper.

In the NFL long snappers are usually amongst the least known players because of their highly specialized and not very visible role on the field. They are also in general not drafted and normally are acquired as undrafted free agents. Ryan Pontbriand of the San Francisco 49ers has the distinction of being the highest-drafted long snapper in the history of the NFL Draft. He was drafted in the fifth round (142nd overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns.[2] Zak DeOssie, long snapper for the New York Giants, was drafted in the fourth round (116th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft; however at the time he was drafted as a linebacker. Todd Thomas was selected in the fifth round (124th overall) of the 1981 NFL Draft, for his long snapping abilities, by the Kansas City Chiefs.[3] At the time draft records listed him as a tackle, but he served as the long snapper for the Chiefs during the 1981 season.[4]

Despite their anonymity, a team lacking a skilled long snapper can be seriously undermined. A famous example of this was on January 5, 2003 during the 2002 wild card playoff game between the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants. The Giants during the regular season had suffered missed field goals due to the lack of an experienced long snapper, and signed Trey Junkin out of retirement to be the snapper for the playoff game. Junkin botched a snap on a field goal attempt that could have won the game for the Giants, who had led 38-14 at one point in the game.[5] Brad St. Louis of the Cincinnati Bengals was another long snapper who, besides having already misexecuted two snaps in clutch situations in 2005 (wild card play-off game against the eventual champions Pittsburgh Steelers) and 2006, gained even bigger notoriety in 2009, when he delivered five bad snaps on either field goal or extra point attempts (leading to missed, aborted or blocked kicks) in the first five games of the season, which led to the then ten-year veteran being released from the team.

External links


This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Long snapper.
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