Ever wonder what life is like for an NFL long snapper? Nobody knows better than Patrick Mannelly, who visited the Talk of Fame Network this week to explain how he survived 16 years in that upside down world, and how an award to honor the best long snapper in Division I college football came to be named after him.
“It all started with a pamphlet from Rod Dowhower,’’ Mannelly told the Talk of Fame Network’s co-hosts Rick Gosselin and Ron Borges on this week’s show. “I never fathomed I’d play 16 years in the NFL.’’
Mannelly did more than that. He went to two Pro Bowls and played 16 years with the same team, helping the Chicago Bears reach a Super Bowl and finish first in the NFL in special teams in 2007 and 2008. So reliably superior was his career that he was recently named one of the best 100 players ever to wear a Bears’ uniform.
“Just to be in a room with players like (Dick) Butkus was an honor,’’ Mannelly said. “Even if I was number 100, I was happy to be there.’’
He was just as happy when, after his first 12 years in the league, the rules were changed to protect deep snappers. Previously it was open season on them. They were defenseless with their heads down and defenders crushing them at the snap.
Mannelly recalls some of those hard days, a sore neck and what it was like to get run over on field goal tries by some of the biggest men in the game.
Also dropping by the studio is former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops to discuss his decision to come out of retirement to coach the Dallas entry in the new XFL in the spring next year.
Stoops won a national title and 10 Big-12 championships in 16 years as head coach of the Sooners before retiring in 2017. He tells the Talk of Fame Network he never intended to come back to coaching until XFL president Oliver Luck and league founder Vince McMahon called on him.
“It all seemed to fit,’’ Stoops said of the chance to coach in the newest professional spring football league. “Talking with Vince McMahon was like talking to another coach.
“It’s going to be creative in a smart way. Will it look a lot different? No. Do we really need to change football that people love to watch? We’re not looking to convert Cowboys' fans. Just asking ‘em to put their (Cowboys’) jersey away and put ours on for 10 games.’’
If anyone can make them do it, it’s likely to be Bob Stoops.
This week Ron states the Hall of Fame case for a 1940s' all-decade receiver named Jim Benton. Time has forgotten Benton, but he should be remembered as the guy who set a receiving record on Nov. 22, 1945 that wasn’t broken for 40 years and who retired as second only to Hall-of-Famer Don Hutson among NFL receivers of his era.
Rick puts on Dr. Data’s lab coat to explain how the New England Patriots have defied the NFL’s law of parity like no other team in NFL history.
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