Long snappers toil in football anonymity. They’re noticed only when they screw up, and when they screw up it’s often epic.
But someone is looking out for these unsung heroes and/or large-horned goats. Not long after a tweaking of the rules aimed at keeping the snappers from getting their necks snapped promptly after firing the ball away, the NFL’s Competition Committee is exploring a measure that would give them greater protection in plays involving field goals and extra points.
Co-chair Rich McKay explained in a Wednesday conference call that, under a new proposal to be submitted at next week’s league meetings, no players will be permitted to line up within the “frame” of the snapper on such plays. This means that the snapper will have a full chance to get rid of the ball, and then to protect himself against whoever might be targeting him for a violent act.
The move could reduce blocked kicks, since it takes away the shortest distance from defensive player to football.