The NFL is not a game that features much in the way of perfection. It is also a game that does not lend itself well to prolonged excellence. But one of the players who comes close to that almost unattainable standard is someone who is not all that familiar to most followers of the game. And it is L.P. Ladouceur, a long snapper, the most anonymous position on any football team.
Ladouceur has been a rock-solid fixture for the Dallas Cowboys since his rookie season in 2005, when he was brought aboard after being released by the New Orleans Saints. A Pro Bowler in 2014, he has been immaculate at his role without a single errant snap in his career. Entering this upcoming season, he has made clean snaps on 940 punts, 428 field goals and 592 PATs, including the playoffs.
He will be returning for his 15th year in a Cowboys’ uniform after signing a one year deal in March.
The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur’s 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Mark… https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) March 19, 2019
Ladouceur’s length of service with the star on his helmet puts him in rare company with the likes of Jason Witten, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei.
As a specialist at his role, Ladouceur checks all the boxes. He can clearly snap. He can block. He can tackle.
Former special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia once remarked about the traits for the position several years ago.
“They basically have to be a linebacker, but backward. Be able to snap the ball like the quarterback throws. Put all that together and you get a pretty good long snapper.”
Ladouceur’s 2018 season was the usual. No errant snaps, but it was one of his more remarkable seasons due to one moment where his name was mentioned in a football game. And as is the norm with long snappers, it is rarely a good thing when that is the case.
Against the Redskins on October 21, The Cowboys were lined up to attempt a potential 47-yard game-tying kick with three seconds remaining in the game, and then the unthinkable happened. Ladouceur was seemingly imperfect. He was flagged for a false start. The ensuing five-yard penalty made it a tougher 52-yard attempt on kicker Brett Maher. His kick ended up hitting the left upright as time expired.
Would have been good from 47.
Penalty pushes it back five yards.
Maher misses from 52. Cowboys lose.#CowboysNation #DALvsWAS pic.twitter.com/LHLe9BQgUK
— Joey Hayden (@_joeyhayden) October 21, 2018
“Never had that before, I do the exact same thing every time, so when that happens, that’s what I was telling the ref, ‘I do the exact same thing.’ I just adjust it down so I can put my hands on the bottom of it so I can snap it in the right direction. The exact same thing I’ve been doing for 14 years.”
“The illegal ball movement by the center in #DALvsWAS causes the defense to come across the neutral zone and contact a lineman.” -AL pic.twitter.com/Cv8Ugwb99p
— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) October 21, 2018
Even in this case, Ladouceur’s consistency came into play, mostly due to Washington’s coaching staff pointing it out to the officiating crew.
Ladouceur’s upcoming season should be much like every other, more of the same. He has lasted through three coaching eras in Dallas, playing for Bill Parcells, Wade Phillips and now Jason Garrett. And it is not as if the Cowboys have not provided him competition for him to earn his role through the years.
No less than three current NFL long snappers have been in a camp battle at some point with the veteran. Since he succeeded Jon Condo, the Cowboys have had Casey Kreiter (Broncos), Charley Hughlett (Browns) and Zach Wood (Saints) in their training camps and he outlasted them all.
Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
This year, Dallas has Kansas State product Drew Scott as the latest “challenger” for his job. It is far more likely that Scott will be in Oxnard to provide the veteran some rest and give an audition for 2020, should LaDouceur decide to hang up his cleats.
The Cowboys have not switched long snappers since week 4 of the 2005 season when an unknown Canadian-born athlete defensive lineman out of the University of California was signed after he impressed at a tryout.
As far as 2019 is concerned, it will be a major upset if Ladouceur is not out there again, doing his thing. Flawlessly.