In football, the long snapper is a specialized offensive player whose task is to snap the ball to the holder during field goals and punters during punts. Unlike a regular snap, the long snapper must be able to cover a distance of anywhere between seven and 10 yards with an accurate snap, as well as do it quickly. Most teams have their own long snapper on the roster rather than using a regular center as the position is much more specialized. Long snappers are considered special teams players, but will sometimes be denoted as back up tight ends on team rosters.
The long snapper must also block after the snap like a center would, though there is often much less pressure on the long snapper to block during field goals and punts because most defenders who have a chance at blocking the kick are defenders who run around the offensive line.
In 2017, the NFL banned the practice of defenders jumping over the line of scrimmage in an attempt to block a kick. This benefits long snappers as they were usually the player being jumped over and now they do not have to worry about it.
Long snapping requires a lot of precision and arm strength. Since the distance is a little further than a regular snap, it can be more challenging for the holder or quarterback to catch and control the ball. A good snap should hit the holder or quarterback's hands, depending on the play. The hands act as a target.
Snapper are essentially defenseless. No one can cover him until after the ball is snapped.
Being a long snapper in the NFL is not an easy gig, especially in terms of notoriety. The only way casual fans will know your name is if you make a mistake, and long snapper mistakes are often game changing, since a missed field goal or botched snap on a bunt leads to excellent field positioning.
There are not many notable players among long snapping population in NFL history, as the job is so consistent that proving you are the best to ever do it is incredibly tricky.
Long snappers are essential in field goals and punts. Their snaps must be perfectly timed executed., In addition, they must be placed exactly where the kicker is going to be so they have an easily executed kick. These snaps can be the deciding factor between winning and losing a game.
The long snapper also snaps the ball before punts. He must snap the ball about 15 yards to make sure the kicker enough room to perform the punt.