Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

13 Dec 2005

Who to Blame? Kicker? Snapper? Holder?

While a lot of people were blaming kicker Lawrence Tynes for missing a last second field goal against the Cowboys, maybe the real culprit should be long snapper, Ed Perry, whose snap was low and inside on the kick in question. Perry was signed a few weeks ago after starter Kendall Gammon broke his leg. Gammon has been in the league for 14 years and very succinctly describes what he does for a living: "(Our) job description ... is to snap the ball and get the crap knocked out of you. Only in America." And no one notices until something goes wrong. (free registration/bugmenot required)

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 13 Dec 2005

17 comments, Last at 14 Dec 2005, 10:44pm by DGL


by C (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 12:08pm

Laces out Dan! Laces OUT!

by Kevo (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 12:11pm

I'm not an expert on the league's long snappers, but I feel fortunate to have Mike Bartrum as the Eagles' long snapper. I don't think I've ever seen him botch a snap, and I've heard him called the best in the league.

Comcast Sportsnet had a piece a couple years back where they followed him around the city and he snapped the ball to targets. He was perfect everytime. And he plays tight end, too, so he catches a TD every couple years.

by Kevo (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 12:16pm

Addendum to 3:

I just remembered a game last season against the Lions where Bartrum scored. His end zone celebration earned him a fine, because once he caught the pass he squatted down and snapped the ball back to Donovan McNabb from the back of the end zone. It was hilarious.

by Ray (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 12:28pm

Best. TD Celebration. EVER! And he got flagged for it. But as Aaron points out in PFP2005, Akers made it up by launching the following kickoff 80 yards to the 5 yard line.

by Jason (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 12:50pm

The Colts have a pretty solid long snapper in Justin Snow. Now if he could have only caught that ball on the fake......

ah well. Can't have it all.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 12:55pm

turn your kid into a left-handed reliever or a long-snapper and there'll always be a job for him

by Wicked (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 1:15pm

Rob Davis of the Packers is one of the best in the league. Click on my name for a link to longsnap.com

by JonL (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 1:18pm

(Our) job description … is to snap the ball and get the crap knocked out of you. Only in America.

In Soviet Russia, ball snaps you!

by Denni (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 1:22pm

Remember Trey Junkin a few years ago, costing the Giants a playoff game with 2 bad snaps?

by Noble (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 1:50pm

Wouldn't it be a better idea to blame the defense?

by michael (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 1:52pm

Awww... i was hoping this was going to be an article on the Texans botched figgie at the end of the game, but then again, it didn't add 'The Owner' on the list of people to blame.

side note: Chris Berman (IIRC) had a great line (stop laughing!) in regards to this mother-of-all-shanks:

"I've seen better corner kicks than that!"

by Bowman (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 2:21pm

5. About the swinging-gate play...

Does the offense have to declare the long-snapper eligable? I know typically, he's a TE, but lining up as the center. If he has to be declared eligible, can the offense cover him up, making him ineligable?

by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 2:35pm

Patrick Mannelly baby. His website was started in 2001. My name contains the link. Apparently he snapped a ball from half court into the basket at a charity basketball game. I think that's impressive but to be honest I've never tried.

by michael (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 3:25pm

re #12:
IIRC, usually when an extra lineman comes in to play at the TE position, or FB or whatever, he is declared elligble because he is wearing a "lineman's number" - since normally, that range is reserved for people who don't ever get to touch the ball.

It's largely, I believe, a notification to the defense (and the refs) that "this giant fat man with the weird number is *not* lining up at guard, tackle, or center.

Now, with the swinging gate, you have a player with an *elgible* number, who is also not lining up at center, guard, or tackle (and as mentioned elswhere, anybody can snap the ball). Since he was elgible by both counts (number and formation position) I do not think they needed to notify his eligibility.

If, however, a Lineman, with a lineman's number, were to execute the exact same play, they would have had to declare him.

(note: the above is largely speculation, especially since the number scheme is less relevant now than it used to be, but i'd wager it's probably close to accurate).

by Jen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/14/2005 - 12:38pm

I knew as soon as Gammon went down that it would eventually cost KC a game down the road.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Wed, 12/14/2005 - 8:34pm

Re #12:

I think that enough wrongly-numbered guys are on the kicking team that they don't have to announce their eligibility.

by DGL (not verified) :: Wed, 12/14/2005 - 10:44pm

17 of the 32 long snappers listed on longsnap.com have ineligible numbers, so it would seem that they would have to declare eligible for a swinging gate play. The Colts LS has an eligible number, so that wouldn't apply. (Does he have to report as an ineligible receiver on a normal kick or punt?)

Interestingly, of the 15 LS with eligible numbers, 7 have number 48.