In American football and Canadian football, the term long snapper refers to a player who is a specialized center (though he could also be a tackle, guard or defensive tackle) during punts, field goals, and extra point attempts. His job is to snap the ball as quickly and accurately as possible. Many teams, especially in college football, refer to the snapper in a punt formation as a deep snapper and reserve the term long snapper for the snapper in a field goal formation.
During field goals and point after tries, the snap is received by the holder. During punt plays the snap is delivered to the punter. A good, consistent long snapper is hard to find, and many marginally talented players have found a niche exclusively as long snappers.
A "bad snap" is a snap which causes the delay of a kick or the failure of a play.
The long snapper still performs the normal tasks of a center and also runs downfield after the ball has been punted to help defend the punt return.
On punts, most NFL long snappers get the ball to the punter in .70 seconds and immediately attempt to make the tackle downfield.
Long snappers usually aren't known throughout the NFL, and usually are never drafted (because they don't play other positions), but it does happens sometimes.
Ryan Pontbriand of the Cleveland Browns has the distinction of being the highest-drafted long snapper in the history of the NFL Draft. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Browns.
Some long snappers do not start snapping until they are on a team where the position is open. Long snapper scholarships used to be rare, but are becoming more popular as colleges begin to recoginze the vast importance of Special Teams.