The Patrick Mannelly Award
About The Award
We live in the age of the superstar. The big gun. The first pick. The franchise player. But the more we come to understand the game of football, the more we learn to revere the guy who sets every field goal, extra point and punt in motion – including nail-biting field goals that make or break games, seasons and sometimes even careers. It’s time to show some love for the Long Snapper.
Long Snappers don’t make the cover of the program. They’re rarely asked to sign autographs. You don’t typically see them being interviewed before the game. But Long Snappers aren’t driven by these things. Quiet, selfless, focused and courageous, the Long Snapper is content to trade conventional superstardom for the opportunity to do one job very well.
The spirit of the Long Snapper lives, not just on the football field, but out in the real world as well. The nurse who hands the right instrument to the surgeon is a Long Snapper. The legal professional who works late into the night doing the research that uncovers the precedent that wins the case is a Long Snapper. Anyone who toils in quiet dedication to the greater good is a Long Snapper. No matter what you do, when you do it with excellence in the face of great pressure, you are a Long Snapper.
The Patrick Mannelly Award presented by William Blair is a new vehicle through which football’s unsung workhorses can finally bask in the warm glow of appreciation. Now we celebrate the best Long Snappers in college football. And in doing so, we honor the Long Snapper in all of us.
The Patrick Mannelly Award
In 2019, The Patrick Mannelly Award had its inaugural award dinner held at Bernie’s Book Bank in Lake Bluff, Illinois. The night began with a welcoming cocktail hour that was filled with laughter and greetings from Patrick Mannelly Award hopefuls and guests of the dinner.
As the night went on we heard from Bernie’s Book Bank CEO Darrin Utynek and great messages from Patrick Mannelly Award Founders Patrick Mannelly, Chris Rubio, and Kevin Gould. We heard how the award had come to Chris Rubio and the steps that were taken to name the award after Patrick Mannelly. We learned how our presenting sponsor William Blair came to the award to become a presenting sponsor as well as Bernie’s Book Bank becoming who the award was benefitting.
The night continued on and was filled with stories from NBC Chicago Sports David Kaplan and former Chicago Bears Charles “Peanut” Tillman and Olin Kreutz. Laughter filled the room when old stories of past Chicago Bears games, locker room pranks and practices were retold.
Finally the night wrapped up as all of the nominations were introduced that included John Shannon (Notre Dame), Liam McCullough (Ohio State) and Steven Wirtel (Iowa State). We watched highlight films of each finalist and heard a word from their coaches.
As the night concluded, the audience, full from a delicious meal and stories of Chicago Bears past, we learned who the 2019 Patrick Mannelly Award winner would be…John Shannon!
2020 Virtual Award Show
Due to the pandemic The 2020 Patrick Mannelly Award was held as a virtual event! The night was one that we won’t ever forget. We had incredible insight from the founders Chris Rubio, Kevin Gold and Patrick Mannelly. We got to be introduced to the 2020 finalist Thomas Fletcher, Alabama, Damon Johnson, USC and Ryan Langan, Georgia Southern. The night went on and we heard from Bearnie’s Book Bank CEO Darrin Utynek, who told us all about Bernie’s Book Bank! The night went on and we heard from NBC Chicago Sports David Kaplan and heard all about the Walk For Unity!
At the end of the night we were able to hear who was the winner of the 2020 Patrick Mannelly Award! The winner was…Thomas Fletcher, Alabama!
The Patrick Mannelly Award presented by William Blair benefits Bernie’s Book Bank, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing book ownership among at-risk children. Bernie’s Book Bank achieves this mission by providing 12 free books annually to empower under-served children to read their way to a better life. Since 2009, Bernie’s Book Bank has distributed more than 19 MILLION books to children ages birth through sixth grade; this year alone they will provide 2.2 MILLION books to thousands of local under-served children.
Bernie’s Book Bank is the long snapper of literacy – no child can learn to read without books. The work of Bernie’s Book Bank may be behind the scenes, yet they are an integral player in the literacy equation. For more information about Bernie’s Book Bank, visit berniesbookbank.org.
Patrick Mannelly, widely known as the best Long Snapper in the modern NFL era, was a four-year starter at long snapper and two year starter at offensive line at Duke University before being drafted by the Chicago Bears in the sixth round of the 1998 NFL Draft. Mannelly is the Bears career leader in games played at 245, the longest tenured Chicago Bear after playing 16 seasons, and a recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award..
November 25, 2021 – Finalist announced
November 18, 2021- Semifinalist announced
August 9, 2021 – Watchlist goes out
The Patrick Mannelly Long Snapper Award is determined by a committee comprised of former NFL Long Snappers, punters and kickers, special team coaches, as well as snapping instructors, NFL player agents and sportswriters.
The Award is presented to the overall best Long Snapper at the Division I FBS level. The winner must have started 75% of games in his senior year, snap on punts and placements, and demonstrate a strong mentality, notable athleticism, as well as speed, accuracy and consistency in their snaps.
Patrick Mannelly, Founder
Chris Rubio, Founder
Kevin Gold, Founder
Lonnie Paxton, Former NFL LS
Tom Lemming, Recruiting Writer
Garrett Mehal, Pro Football Focus
Robbie Gould, NFL Kicker
Brad Maynard, Former NFL P
Rob Davis, Former NFL LS
Justin Snow, Former NFL LS
Randy Chevrier, Former NFL/CFL LS
Clint Gresham, Former NFL LS
Rick Gosselin, NFL Writer
Tom Osborne, NCAA ST Coach
Phil Steele, NCAA Writer
Dave Wannstedt, Former NFL Head Coach
Casey Casper, Former NHL LS