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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 tries, the snap is received by the holder. During punt plays the snap is delivered to the punter. 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 a snap which causes the delay of a kick or the failure of a play.

The long snapper still performs the normal tasks of a center and also runs downfield after the ball has been punted to help defend the punt return.

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In College Football

Many teams, especially in college football, refer to the snapper in a punt formation as a deep snapper and reserve the term long snapper for the snapper in a field goal formation. Scholarships for long snappers used to be rare, but are becoming more popular as colleges begin to recognize the importance of special teams.

In the NFL

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 Cleveland Browns has the distinction of being the highest-drafted long snapper in the history of the NFL Draft. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Browns.[1]

On punts, most NFL long snappers get the ball to the punter in 0.70 seconds and immediately attempt to make the tackle downfield.

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.[2]

External links

References

  1. ^ ^ a b "Player Bio – Steve Kidd – Football". Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
  2. ^ William C. Rhoden (2003-01-06). "Sports of The Times; Kicking Mishap Concludes Story With 2 Views". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9402E5DD143EF935A35752C0A9659C8B63.  
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