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The NFL’s consecutive snap streak is its most impressive unofficial record

Retired NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz explains how an equipment malfunction or bowel movement can easily derail one of pro football’s toughest records.

NFL: New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

It’s records week, so I wanted in on the fun. When I think of NFL records, I turn my attention towards the unofficial record in consecutive snaps. Joe Thomas has the unofficial record with 10,363 consecutive snaps in a row. His streak ended this season with a torn tricep and that torch of consecutive snaps played now falls onto my brother, Chiefs right tackle Mitch Schwartz, who currently (and, remember, unofficially) leads the NFL with over 6,200 consecutive snaps over his first six NFL seasons.

Some people might not be impressed with playing every snap because, hey, that’s our job. But I think a short list of all the ways you can miss a snap might help change your mind and remind you why this is pretty awesome and amazing.

Let’s start with the jersey and uniform issues that can keep a player off the field for a snap:

  • A shoe busts
  • Jersey rips. I had mine rip along the chest/armpit and luckily my equipment guy was able to sow it up quickly in between drives.
  • Helmet buckles break.
  • Chinstraps rip.
  • Facemask gets bent or breaks.
  • Pants rip.
  • Any sort of brace breaks, as we’ve seen with quarterbacks sliding into the grass.

Let’s move onto the body. If a trainer comes out to see you, for whatever reason, you miss the next play.

  • Any major injury would end a snaps played streak. There’s a 100% injury rate in the NFL.
  • Dislocated finger, out a few plays to get it taped, come back in like nothing happened.
  • You lose contact lenses.
  • Getting poked in the eye.
  • Take a shot to the groin.
  • Take a shot to the gut and lose your wind.

Other reasons to miss snaps:

  • You get pulled when your team is up big. Joe Thomas has discussed it before. They were up big in a game. His replacement was sent into the game and came into the huddle to remove Joe, and Joe told him to get lost. That offensive lineman ran back to the sidelines and Joe continued to play.
  • A coach’s decision to rest the starters. In Week 17 this season, the Chiefs had nothing to play for. They planned on sitting my brother, but he asked to play. They didn’t have to say yes, but they know what the streak meant to him and let him play.
  • Pee break. The newer stadiums have bathrooms under the stands near the sidelines. The older ones don’t. If you don’t want to pee behind the communications cart with two equipment guys holding towels up, then you run into the bathroom. I’ve seen guys pee into cups or water bottles on the sidelines as well just so they could not miss a snap
  • A poop attack. I’ve had a fellow offensive lineman miss a single snap in a season because he couldn’t finish cleaning himself up before the next series started. Lol. Amazing story.

I’m sure there are other reasons to miss a snap and if you think of one, please let me know. Just know that you should appreciate the unofficial record of consecutive snaps.