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The Veteran Charger Who Prefers You Never Know His Name
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“I hate recognition. I don’t want any recognition. I told Tom Telesco the day I signed here that every day that goes by that no one knows my name is a great day for me. It’s a great day for my job. And he totally agreed. So I don’t ever want recognition because if you know my name, it is typically when something went wrong. Hopefully I can go the rest of my years without anyone knowing who I am. I am the opposite of every man in every aspect.”
While he ideally doesn’t want people to know his name, it’s time for Mike Windt to be recognized.
The long snapper is a position that not only receives very little glory, but is rarely documented at all. The truth of the matter is Windt is one of the top in the league at his position, and his value to the Bolts is vital even if you don’t know much about him.
While those inside Chargers Park value the six-year veteran, there is a contingent of football fans that question the impact of a long snapper. However, Windt pays no attention to that chatter. In fact, he finds the opposite to be true, which is why it doesn’t bother him one bit.
“Not at all,” he said matter-of-factly. “Knowledgeable fans know that it is an important position, and it is just like every other position. You have to be as perfect as you can. Strive for perfection and settle for greatness. It is what it is. The nature of football is if the quarterback throws an interception or a running back fumbles, they move on to the next play. It’s different for me. If that happens, that’s when you hear my name, and I’m out of a job.”
“He’s pretty much said it,” Head Coach Mike McCoy said. “The long snapper is one of those positions that you never want to read about, but he does a great job of indirectly leading the team. There are certain things he does and says to people, that whether it is through practice, in meetings or on the field on game day; he does a great job with his role. All of the players really like being around him. He’s a fun guy, understands his role and doesn’t step on anyone’s toes. He does his job every day.”
“Mike Windt is huge for our special teams, in pretty much every aspect,” Scifres said. “It would be nice for him to be recognized, and people that do know the game understand what he does and how important he is for us. Being together for six years, I definitely appreciate him. He makes my job so much easier. He really is that unsung guy no one talks about, and that is great because as a specialist, the only time they call your name is when something goes wrong. You don’t want that to happen.”
“The reason we’ve had so much success is because the snapping has been so good,” Novak added. “Location with him is always consistent. The laces are always consistent. And he gets it to a guy who is one of the best holders I’ve ever had in Scifres. So it is one of the positions, like for all of us, where when you do your job, you stay under the radar. It is only when you don’t that people talk about you. So (fans not knowing him) is the way he wants it.”
Chemistry and timing is crucial in football. Much like the connection between a quarterback and his receivers requires countless hours of practice and repetition, the entire special teams unit works diligently to perfect their chemistry as well.
The long snapper title can be misleading as well. Yes, Windt is responsible for snapping the ball, but he also must align his teammates, recognize fronts, block the opposition and head down field to make tackles. Special Teams Coordinator Kevin Spencer detailed the many roles Windt takes on while explaining how it is a thankless job.
“People only talk about them when they don’t do well, and no one talks about Mike, so that says a lot,” Spencer recently said. “It’s more than snapping the ball. Mike may not run down the field and blow up people, but he does a lot of little things at the line of scrimmage in the field goal and punt game that helps our team and coverage guys…He helps our guys get out after the other team latches on to them. Mike will give what we call a pick, which is legal in special teams. He has become very, very good at that and also at field goal protection. He is about 240 pounds and throws his body in protection to move a 300-pound guy so that D.J. Fluker won’t have two 300-pound guys on his shoulders. So he does a whole lot. He’s a pro and he’s smart. He is dependable and we trust him.” Read