In gridiron football, the long snapper (or deep snapper) is a special teams specialist whose duty is to snap the football over a longer distance, typically around 15 yards during punts, and 7–8 yards during field goals and extra point attempts.
During field goal and point after touchdown attempts, the snap is received by the holder, typically 7–8 yards away. During punts, the snap is delivered to the punter from 13–15 yards away. Following a punt snap, the snapper often executes a blocking assignment and then must cover the kick by running downfield and attempting to stop the opposing team's punt returner from advancing the ball in the opposite direction. If the punt goes uncaught, it is the snapper's responsibility to make sure the ball does not enter the end zone or bounce backward resulting in loss of yards. The majority of snappers at the highest levels of competition are specialized, meaning that they uniquely play the position of snapper, or have limited responsibilities elsewhere.
A good punt snap should hit the target—the punter's hands at the abdomen or waistline—between .65 and .75 secondsand with a tight spiral for easy handling. A "bad snap" is an off-target snap which causes the delay or failure of a kick or forces the punter into some other potentially compromising situation.
The position of long snapper was not always a solid position. Until about 20 years ago, the position of long snapper would be filled by a random player or lineman who was not getting playing time. The thought to have a roster spot reserved for just a snapper was ridiculous. Over time, people started to realize how important the role was, as one bad snap could lose any game. In the past 20 years, teams have not only trained and recruited true long snappers, but they even offer scholarships because of the importance of the position.
College rules are such that any of the 11 players on the punting team are allowed to proceed downfield at any time once the play has begun (unlike the NFL where only 2 players, the left and right gunners, are allowed to pass the line of scrimmage before the ball has been kicked). This results in many teams employing a "spread punt" or "rugby-style" scheme designed to maximize downfield coverage and limit returners from making larger gains the other way after receiving the ball.
In the NCAA, Defensive players are not able to line up within the shoulder length frame of the long snapper.Defensive players who play opposite of the long snapper are also not allowed to initiate contact with the long snapper until 1 second after the ball has been snapped. These rules were created to protect the long snapper, as they are in a compromised position with their head usually down and unprotected.
Unlike college, NFL rules do not provide for a set period of time after the snap before the long snapper can be engaged by the defense. However, no defensive player can line up directly in front of the long snapper when the offense is in a kick formation. Officials generally enforce this rule through verbal admonishment to an offending player prior to the snap. If the defensive lineman moves into a legal position before the snap, no penalty flag is thrown.
Before specialization, the long snapper often was a player who primarily played another position, mostly assumed to be backup centers because they perform regular snap duties to quarterbacks, and also to quarterbacks positioned further out in a shotgun formation. However, a recent example would be Allen Aldridge, who started at linebacker for the Detroit Lions and also served as the team's long snapper.This allowed the team to dress another non-specialist player. Now, every team in the NFL has a specialized long snapper, a trend born on the Washington Football Team in 1971, where head coach and general manager George Allen made George Burman the first modern long snapper — someone whose roster spot was based on the long snap, and not other positions.
Long snappers are usually amongst the least-known players in the NFL, because of their highly specialized and relatively invisible role on the field. They are also generally not drafted, rarely appear on trading cards, and normally are acquired as undrafted free agents, with a few exceptions:
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. During the regular season, the Giants 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.Brad St. Louis of the Cincinnati Bengals was another long snapper who, besides having already botched 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.
In 2008, it was the Pittsburgh Steelers that had long snapper problems. During an October 26, 2008 game against the New York Giants, the team's regular long snapper, Greg Warren, was injured with what was eventually revealed to be a season-ending torn ACL. Linebacker James Harrison, who had served in 2003 as the long snapper for the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe, volunteered to replace Warren. In the fourth quarter, Harrison's first and only snap sailed over punter Mitch Berger's head and through the end zone for a safety. This tied the score and gave the Giants good field position on the ensuing kick, resulting in the go-ahead touchdown late in the game.Warren sustained a second ACL tear in December 2009, though this occurred on the last play of a December 20 game against the Green Bay Packers, giving the Steelers adequate time to sign replacement Jared Retkofsky, who had also been signed to replace Warren after his injury in 2008.
In 2012, Raiders' long snapper Jon Condo was injured and was backed up by Travis Goethel, a linebacker for a game against the San Diego Chargers. On two occasions during the game, punter Shane Lechler was unable to handle snaps that had bounced prior to reaching him. On another attempt, Lechler took his position much closer to the line of scrimmage than is normal for a punter, so as to decrease the distance Goethel needed to accurately snap the ball. Though the snap was adequate, the decreased distance resulted in a blocked punt.
Strategy forms a major part of American football. Both teams plan many aspects of their plays (offense) and response to plays (defense), such as what formations they take, who they put on the field, and the roles and instructions each player are given. Throughout a game, each team adapts to the other's apparent strengths and weaknesses, trying various approaches to outmaneuver or overpower their opponent in order to win the game.
A punter (P) in gridiron football is a special teams player who receives the snapped ball directly from the line of scrimmage and then punts (kicks) the football to the opposing team so as to limit any field position advantage. This generally happens on a fourth down in American football and a third down in Canadian football. Punters may also occasionally take part in fake punts in those same situations, when they throw or run the football instead of punting.
A formation in football refers to the position players line up in before the start of a down. There are both offensive and defensive formations and there are many formations in both categories. Sometimes, formations are referred to as packages.
Center (C) is a position in gridiron football. The center is the innermost lineman of the offensive line on a football team's offense. The center is also the player who passes the ball between his legs to the quarterback at the start of each play.
Brad Allen St. Louis is a former American football long snapper. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round of the 2000 NFL Draft. He played college football at Southwest Missouri State.
In gridiron football, the holder is the player who receives the snap from the long snapper during field goal or extra point attempts made by the placekicker. The holder is set on one knee seven yards behind the line-of-scrimmage. Before the play begins he places the hand which is closest to the place kicker on the ground in a location designated by the kickers foot, with his forward hand ready to receive the snap. After receiving the snap, the holder will place the football on the turf, or block, ideally with the laces facing the uprights and the ball accurately placed where the back hand was initially, then balancing the ball with one or two fingers until the ball is kicked.
A trick play, also known as a gadget play, gimmick play or trickeration, is a play in gridiron football that uses deception and unorthodox tactics to fool the opposing team. A trick play is often risky, offering the potential for a large gain or a touchdown if it is successful, but with the chance of a significant loss of yards or a turnover if not. Trick plays are rarely used not only because of the riskiness, but also to maintain the element of surprise for when they are used.
The 2006 Pro Bowl was the National Football League's all-star game for the 2005 season. The game was played on February 12, 2006, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. It marked the 27th consecutive time that the National Football League's all-star game was held in Honolulu. The NFC all-stars won by the score of 23 to 17.
Patrick Mannelly is a former American football long snapper. He played college football at Duke and was selected by the Chicago Bears in the sixth round of the 1998 NFL Draft. Mannelly played with the Bears for 16 years before retiring in 2014. He is considered one of the top long snapper in modern-day football, a title given to him by sports columnist Rick Gosselin and special teams NFL agent Kevin Gold.
In American football, the specific role that a player takes on the field is referred to as their "position." Under the modern rules of American football, both teams are allowed 11 players on the field at one time and have "unlimited free substitutions," meaning that they may change any number of players during any "dead ball" situation. This has resulted in the development of three task-specific "platoons" of players within any single team: the offense, the defense, and the so-called 'special teams'. Within these three separate "platoons", various positions exist depending on the jobs that the players are doing.
Abner Kirk "Trey" Junkin III is a former American football long snapper in the National Football League. Junkin played college football at Louisiana Tech University. Although considered one of the forefathers of the modern long snappers, Junkin also played at the tight end and linebacker positions.
Ted Thompson was an American professional football player and executive in the National Football League (NFL). He was the general manager of the Green Bay Packers from 2005 to 2017. Thompson had a 10-year playing career in the NFL as a linebacker and special teams player with the Houston Oilers from 1975 to 1984.
Steve Leonard DeOssie is a former American football linebacker and long snapper in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, New York Jets and New England Patriots. He played college football at Boston College.
The 2007 New York Jets season was the franchise's 38th season in the National Football League (NFL), the 48th season overall, and the second under head coach Eric Mangini. The team attempted to improve upon their 10–6 record from 2006, but failed and finished the season with a 4–12 record, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
Jeffrey William Robinson is a former professional football player, last as long snapper for the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1993 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos, the 98th overall pick. Robinson later played for the St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys; he earned a Super Bowl ring with the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV. Robinson played college football at Idaho, where he was a four-year starter at defensive end.
Zackary Robert DeOssie is a former American football long snapper in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Brown University, and was drafted by the New York Giants in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection as a long snapper. DeOssie has earned two Super Bowl rings with the Giants in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI, both over his hometown New England Patriots. He is the son of former NFL linebacker Steve DeOssie; the two hold the distinction of being the only father-son duo to win Super Bowls with the same franchise.
The following terms are used in American football, both conventional and indoor. Some of these terms are also in use in Canadian football; for a list of terms unique to that code, see Glossary of Canadian football.
The 1962 Dallas Cowboys season was their third in the league. The team finished with a record of 5 wins, 8 losses, and 1 tie, placing them 5th in the NFL's Eastern Conference.
Jabrill Ahmad Peppers is an American football strong safety for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Michigan, and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. A standout athlete early in high school, he was named the Air Force National Sophomore of the Year in 2011. Sports Illustrated named Peppers one of their "Future Game Changers," a group of 14 young athletes who are considered to be the brightest talents of their respective sports. Peppers was named the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year, Freshman All-American, and a Second-Team All-American in 2015. Peppers was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Linebacker of the Year, Return Specialist of the Year, and an All-American in 2016.
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|Positions in American football and Canadian football|
|Offense (Skill position)||Defense||Special teams|
|Linemen||Guard, Tackle, Center||Linemen||Tackle, End, Edge rusher||Kicking||Placekicker, Punter, Kickoff specialist|
|Quarterback (Dual-threat, Game manager, System)||Linebacker||Snapping||Long snapper, Holder|
|Running backs||Halfback/Tailback (Triple-threat, Change of pace), Fullback, H-back, Wingback||Backs||Cornerback, Safety, Halfback, Nickelback, Dimeback||Returning||Punt returner, Kick returner, Jammer, Upman|
|Receivers||Wide receiver (Eligible), Tight end, Slotback, End||Tackling||Gunner, Upback, Utility|
|Formations (List) — Nomenclature — Strategy|