Only a few long snappers double as regular players. They don't need long-snapping. Those guys constitute a smug minority. Probably a quarter of NFL teams split the long-snapping duties: a deep snapper for punts and a short snapper for field goals and extra points.
Which is tougher? Though shorter, the snap-for-placement is often more pressure-packed, since points—and sometimes victory—are at stake. This explains why, according to Adam Schreiber, a 13-year vet who does both short-and deep-snapping for the New York Giants, "you find a lot of spitting in field goal situations."
The center on kick placements makes two adjustments: He has to take something off the ball—"You're not trying to knock the holder over," says Schreiber—and he has to "snap laces." That means the snapper must deliver the ball so that when the holder catches it his top hand is on the laces. "That way when he puts it down, the laces are facing the goalpost," Schreiber adds.
The punt snap is "more of an aggressive snap, with speed," says Schreiber. The ball must reach the punter in .8 of a second. How fast is that? Faster than his wife, Dalene, thought. At a picnic several summers ago, Adam felt "the itch to snap" and asked Dalene if she would catch a few. "What do I do?" she asked.
"You say 'set,' and I snap the ball at my convenience," he replied.
"The first one was a nice, tight spiral," recalls Schreiber. "It wasn't high, but then again she's only about five foot four." The ball broke a couple of her fingernails.
Usually it is the snapper who absorbs the abuse. When Junkin thought a Cleveland Browns player was diving at his knees two years ago. he started brawling with him. Junkin was in turn set upon by his own teammate, Kevin Mawae, who, as he tried to save Junkin from being ejected, shouted. "I'm not snapping!" Mawae was Seattle's backup snapper.
In addition to dabbling in motorcycles and martial arts, Junkin writes poetry. The following minimalist, arbitrarily capitalized lines are from "The Snap":
Get a Look
Defense, Ball, Punter
Hear the call
Adjust the Ball
everything comes to
you feel the Line
you to punter
Some can; some can't.
Some can appreciate timeless verse, some can't. After zipping through Junkin's poem, Binn merely says, "Cool."