After losing two in one game, Eagles seek protection for long snappers

Getty Images

Long snapping is a unique skill, and few NFL teams have more than one player who can do it well. So after the Eagles lost both their starting long snapper and their emergency backup long snapper in the same game last year, they’re seeking to expand protections for long snappers in 2017.

The Eagles have proposed a rule that would prevent the defensive team from hitting the long snapper until a full second after the snap. That would allow the long snapper to snap the ball and then put his head and hands up to protect himself before anyone can touch him.

The precise wording of the Eagles’ rule proposal is, “When a team is in scrimmage kick formation, a defensive player may not initiate contact with the snapper until one second has elapsed after the snap.” Breaking that rule would be considered unnecessary roughness, a 15-yard penalty and automatic first down.

During a December game, Philadelphia starting long snapper Jon Dorenbos suffered a season-ending wrist injury. That left Brent Celek as the emergency long snapper, but Celek got hurt during the game, too. Trey Burton then entered the game as the third-string long snapper and successfully snapped a ball to the holder on a field goal.

It was impressive that Burton could do that, but the Eagles would prefer not to have to rely on him again.

27 responses to “After losing two in one game, Eagles seek protection for long snappers

  1. Makes sense. I’m not a an of these protect everybody rules, football is a violent game, always has been.

    That being said, if you are going to make those rules, and tout “Player safety” at every turn, how to you not already have this rule? If you are looking for a vulnerable player, what guy, in what position, is more vulnerable than the long snapper bent over looking through his legs?

  2. The Eagles already voluntarily withdrew all their proposals(because Competition Committee didn’t want to go forward with them) except for the one banning the leap over the line to attempt to block FGs.

  3. Just eliminate all physical contact in professional football. Otherwise, a player might get hurt. We can’t have that.

  4. Another thing for the officials to have to watch and do. And what comes next? A replay to argue that the official only gave them a half second?

    Geesh. Where will all this garbage end?
    I wish someone would answer this question: How did the players in the past ever play in the NFL when all these rules weren’t there?
    I’ll give you a hint. They use to played a 12 game schedule, then it was changed to a 14 game schedule to increase revenue. Then in 1978, it was changed again to a 16 game schedule.
    And there used to be just two conferences in the NFL — the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. There were no wild card teams.
    The Eastern Conference winner played the Western Conference winner for the NFL Championship.
    In other words, part of the problem is these guys play a lot more games than ever before, increasing the likelihood of injury.
    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like seeing the players get hurt. But it’s gone way too far. They are trying to legislate all the injuries out of football, which is impossible. As long as men are hitting other men, injuries are going to happen.
    I have to laugh at all the focus being brought down on the NFL over injuries now. At the same time the NFL is under all this scrutiny, one of the most popular sports in America is the Ultimate Fighting-type events. There at least 2 and maybe more of these organizations promoting these no-holes-barred fights.
    My son asked me to watch a UFC event the other night and I saw guys cut wide open and bleeding all over the octagon and I saw guys get knocked down — and even out — and still get battered by their opponent until the official finally jumped in and stopped the fight. I can’t help but wonder if maybe 10 or 15 years from now when these guys start suffering from dementia and other maladies, which they undoubtedly will, will their families sue these organizations?
    I’s just amazing to me that football is so heavily scrutinized now and yet boxing has destroyed the lives of its competitors for 100 years and now this new form of fighting is no doubt doing the same thing to these guys — and girls, by the way– and no one even blinks.
    Had Muhammed Ali played in the NFL and had the problems he had for most of his post-fighting years from playing in the NFL, the outrage would have shut the NFL down.

  5. Instead of a 1 second rule just move the defensive lineman covering the LS back 1 yard from the line of scrimmage. That in essence is a 1 second time limit and would be less subjective.

  6. I can’t help but wonder if maybe 10 or 15 years from now when these guys start suffering from dementia and other maladies, which they undoubtedly will, will their families sue these organizations?

    No more than they should be able to sue boxing entities. No one forces these guys into a ring. And let’s not skip over 100+ years of guys getting their brains mashed while boxing and then jump on MMA. Or perhaps Ali was just an anomaly.

    But back to protecting long snappers. How about an easy fix. Eliminate kicking altogether. You can’t win in OT with a FG, they’ve moved the goalposts back from the goal line to the back of the end zone. ENOUGH! Play the game for TD’s only. If it’s a tie after 60 minutes then it’s a freakin tie! Where is it written that there must be a victor in regular season? If you can’t get a first down then you lose possession at that spot. Don’t like it? Move the ball. This will absolutely speed up the game.

  7. I guess this will be reviewable after a challenge and consume another 10 minutes under the hood because 1 team lost 2 centers within the last 40 years. Just play the friggin game!

  8. I think it’s a good idea, poorly written.

    Better would be that they can’t hit the guy while his head’s still down, and require the snapper to lift his head in a reasonable amount of time (can’t just keep his head down to delay the rush).

  9. Long snappers get paid hundreds of thousands a year to do one thing, maybe 6 plays a game. While doing this one thing they need not worry about being walloped head on like every other lineman does on most every play. For goodness sakes either this is a contact sport or it isn’t. If the NFL wants to take all risk of human injury out of football then just run a league of Madden Football. But by all means make players sign a waiver against sueing for thumb injuries!

  10. while I am all for protecting long snappers, the “one Mississippi” rule just doesn’t make sense from an enforcement perspective.

  11. They’d have to have one ref responsible for timing the second so that the rule wouldn’t be violated. That would mean that whatever else he would normally be responsible for would have to be handled by another ref. It’s a snowball effect. Before you know it, the referee’s union would be demanding that the NFL hire an additional ref for each game. That would cut into Goodell’s profit margin. Can’t have that!

  12. Lets see here….instead of making receivers, long snappers, punters, kickers, QBs basically in hittable….why not vote in glass rules for everyone and put on skirts.

    It would be more exciting if long snappers couldnt bend over and stare between their legs being protected and make them look ahead and be prepared to block forcing mor bad snaps and excitement….but that’s just me.

  13. I snapped all though college and had some pro looks. A good snapper let’s it go and gets a their head up. If you see where it went your head was down too long. No way you need a full second. Too many of these guys don’t try to deliver a blow after the snap they stay low and get leaped over or their gaps gets blown up. Plenty of protection in place already.

Leave a Reply