Those in Chicago know the value of the long snapper: by far one of the most important positions in football. A slot on any team roster that almost comes close to the same value as a franchise quarterback. I say almost because quarterbacks don’t share the same pressure that the man in the special teams middle does.
So it’s now fully appropriate that the greatest long snapper of all-time in Bears legend Patrick Mannelly has created an award to honor the best collegiate long snapper. No one quite understands the components and inherent value of a long snapper like Mannelly: who played 16 years for the Bears, and was robbed of a Pro Bowl, All-Pro, and MVP selection in most of those seasons. The deserved future Hall of Famer is making waves to make up for it for those that aren’t in the spotlight, but should be.
“Long snappers are the ultimate anonymous and unsung heroes of football,” Mannelly said to lead off his announcement of one of the most prestigious awards in college football. “No successful field goal, extra point, or punt can take place without an excellent long snap that gets it all started.”
The award founded by Mannelly, Kevin Gold, and Chris Rubio aims to shine a light on these unnoticed but essential components of football. It’s high time we recognize the sport’s most valuable player as such. The only shame is that the big boys in the NFL haven’t yet followed the collegiate ranks’ high class example.