Who are your top 5 long snappers of all time? Chances are, you can't name five long snappers who played in the NFL, much less give a valid ranking. However, the most interesting man in football plays long snapper and is known by millions. Jon Dorenbos is a two-time Pro Bowler, but it's his life outside the lines that makes him so fascinating. Earlier this week he underwent surgery that potentially saved his life after New Orleans Saints team doctors discovered an aortic aneurysm.
Millions were amazed by his magic tricks on America's Got Talent and you'll marvel at his background even more. From overcoming childhood tragedy to bluffing his way into a 14-year (and potentially longer) career in the NFL, check out these 5 Reasons Why Jon Dorenbos is the Most Interesting Man in Football.
1. He's overcome more than you can imagine.
Everyone has personal struggles throughout life, but some people go through trials that are unfathomable. When Jon Dorenbos was 12 years old, his dad, Alan, killed his mother, Kathy, at their family home. Jon entered foster care and was later raised by his aunt and uncle. Alan Dorenbos was convicted of second-degree murder and served 13 years in prison.
Jon Dorenbosspoke to ESPN in 2006 about the tragic event and the impact it had on him as a child. "I was 12 when it happened, and the trial was in November, around the holiday season, with Thanksgiving and Christmas time," said the two-time Pro Bowler. "It's hard when you're a kid that age, because everything then was like a dream to me, as if it really didn't happen."
2. He used magic to cope with the tragedy in his life.
Shortly after his mother's death, a family friend introduced Dorenbos to the world of magic by performing a magic show for him. "It was by far the coolest thing I had ever seen. I loved the energy it gave the room and how it made people happy," said Dorenbos in a Rolling Stone interview. He quickly began practicing magic himself and says it's been a daily activity ever since the introduction.
3. He used grainy highlight footage of another long snapper to get the attention of coaches at the University of Texas-El Paso.
Everyone exaggerates on their resume, but, like anything else, there are levels to the lies you tell. Dorenbos' resume was in the form of a highlight tape, but that didn't stop him from pulling an illusion on UTEP coaches.
Dorenbos was a bit short on highlight film when he heard UTEP needed a long snapper, he snapped in high school but hadn't snapped at all in his year at Golden West Junior college. Dorenbos used film of his teammate, Tim Thurman, the long snapper at Golden West, along with tape of his own from high school to make a highlight reel. The UTEP coaches were impressed and Dorenbos received a scholarship offer -- fast forward nearly two decades later and Dorenbos has 14 seasons as an NFL snapper under his belt.
4. His run on America's Got Talent propelled him to nationwide fame.
The long snapper is arguably the least popular position in football. They're not upright when doing the most important part of their job and they're camouflaged by huge lineman. So, it makes sense that most people got familiar with Jon Dorenbos the magician before knowing about his NFL career. He made his big debut on the 2016 season of America's Got Talent and wowed judges enough to earn him a 3rd place finish in a finale that as watched by over 14 million viewers.
5. A 'Saint' saved his life.
The Eagles traded Dorenbos to the Saints on August 28 and during a follow-up physical New Orleans' team doctors discovered an aortic aneurysm - an enlargement of the aorta. If his aorta were ever ruptured, this condition would cause massive internal bleeding and is potentially fatal. Thankfully, Dorenbos underwent successful surgery and is on the road to recovery. As talented as he is, Dorenbos needed a little assistance and good timing for this escape act.