The motion that begins each play throughout a football game, except for the kickoff. A snap is made by having a player, usually the center or long snapper, crouch over the ball in the manner of an offensive lineman and toss the ball backwards between his legs to whichever player is meant to receive the snap on that particular play. The player who snaps the ball is expected to deliver an accurate snap directly to the hands of his intended target to facilitate a successful start to the play.
The snap starts each play throughout the game, but it can take on several different forms. While each snap is initiated the same way-by having a player "hike" the ball between his legs-the target can differ depending on the situation. On offense, snaps can be taken under center, where a player stands with his hands under the center making it a handoff rather than a toss, or from the shotgun, where the center must accurately toss the ball several yards backwards.
On special teams, a specific "long snapper" is used due to the extra precision and distance required for effective kicking plays. A bad snap can destroy the timing of a play and often results in a loss for the offense or a turnover.