Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

02 Sep 2011

Long Snappers

I have long questioned the NFL wide use of the designated long snapper. I'm sure I'm right and the whole NFL is wrong.:)

For my team, the Packers, this year especially, we'll be cutting a player with a future in order to have the long snapper specialist. I don't know why a 2nd string OL or even DL can't master this satisfactorily. (Well maybe the DL's can't bend over enough.) Maybe even one of our blocking TE's could be groomed for this.

I have never, despite all the stat analysis we do these days, seen any evaluation of the efficacy of this practice. Pointing out past disasters associated with bad snaps is not an adequate evaluation. Specialist snappers do make mistakes. The right question is how does their rate of error compare to non specialists. I don't remember when the specialists came in, but there are for sure plenty of years before that to do a comparison.

As an economist I think this is a rat race like feature. If you don't do it and something bad happens, well then, as GM and coach, its obviously your fault. If your long snapper screws up, well there is safety in numbers. You did all you could even if in fact the reduction in errors doesn't exist.

Posted by: Brucest on 02 Sep 2011

1 reply , Last at 15 Apr 2012, 11:23am by AndreaMelendez

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Re: Long Snappers
by AndreaMelendez :: Sun, 04/15/2012 - 11:23am

The Austin American-Statesman ran a story in the last 2 weeks about former Big12 players in the NFL. The article had the numbers, but I don't remember what they were. The thing I remember most (I only looked at it quickly) is that it appeared they left A&M out...I presumed that this was because A&M is leaving... I hope they dont mess around and let BJ go because the dude is flawless. Long snapper is a very important position please dont f**k it up.

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