The long snapper is one of those players you don't hear about after training camp unless he messes up or gets hurt. But the position is famous as a way for an otherwise ordinary athlete to make the NFL.
At least two Web sites are devoted to the overlooked art--http://www.longsnapper.com and http://www.longsnap.com . In addition to rankings and esoteric stats, both offer technical advice.
Jerry Greene of the Orlando Sentinel took a look at the site created by the Chicago Bears' Patrick Mannelly but won't be suiting up.
Writes Mannelly: "If the dominant hand finished higher than the guide hand, the ball will tail to the side of the dominant hand."
Greene: "'Patrick doesn't say but perhaps this is how we got the phrase: 'Talk to the hand."'
Mannelly: "Make sure you are not moving your hips before your hands."
Greene: "My problem is moving my hips before my feet--creating a tendency to fall on my face."
Trivia time:How many of the 10 oldest players in the NFL last season were punters or kickers?
Interstate five-over: Colin Montgomerie, perhaps not perfectly acquainted with U.S. geography, drove from Duluth, Ga., to Akron, Ohio, after the PGA Championship. Golf World reports Montgomerie and his caddie made it in 10 hours, much of it on I-77 through Virginia and West Virginia.
"I was staring at 77 for a long time," Montgomerie said. "That's a bad number. I hope I'm not staring at it again Thursday."
Zebra talk: Jim Donaldson of the Providence Journal has difficulty taking the NFL's labor trouble with officials seriously.
"Fans already assume that officials are blind and biased no-minds, intent on sabotaging the home team. It is a given among the faithful in the stands that any call that can be blown, will be blown. So how much difference does it make who's blowing the whistle and throwing the flags?
"Let's keep this in perspective. Ronald Reagan once fired the nation's air-traffic controllers, and planes continued to fly safely."
Monster mash: Karl Malone's next adventure--following long-haul trucking and pay-per-view wrestling with Dennis Rodman--will be the monster truck circuit.
"This is not a staged event," the Utah Jazz star said during a news conference. "I've been involved in wrestling before, where you kind of know who's going to win, but we'll have to win points."
So get ready for the Mailman behind the wheel of a roaring, 12-foot-high, 1,200-horsepower truck.
Not coming up Roses: Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News laments that the Rose Bowl hosting the national title game likely means no Big Ten team will play in Pasadena.
"I'm not saying the Big Ten is down this year. I'm just saying prognosticators picked Northwestern to win it, followed closely by 'Abstain.' I'm just saying MAC schools are reluctant to play the Big Ten for fear of damaging the MAC's power ratings. I'm also saying the Big Ten's best quarterback is fielding grounders in Columbus."
Trivia answer: Five--kickers Eddie Murray, Gary Anderson and Morten Andersen and punters Lee Johnson and Sean Landeta.
And finally: From Greene: "About the Indians' Omar Vizquel. If you could use names in Scrabble, wouldn't his be a great one?"