World, meet Bryan Pittman. The Texans' long snapper put his well-honed skills on display today in an appearance on ESPN's "First Take," showing the wide world of sports an impressive ability to snap a football into a basketball net from half-court and giving First Take's Dana Jacobson and Jay Crawford some long-snapping instruction while he was at it.
The "First Take" visit stemmed from Pittman's September 2007 appearance on Houston's FOX26 News, where FOX's Matt Sampsell showed Pittman long-snapping at the grocery store (lettuce, bagels and toilet paper into a shopping cart), in a parking lot (into the open window of a moving vehicle) and at a basketball court (same trick as on ESPN, though he doesn't have to use the glass in the FOX clip).
If you hadn't heard of Pittman or ever stopped to ask him for an autograph when you saw him walking around in the Galleria, that's OK: Pittman hasn't exactly been in the limelight in his football career. He attended Walla Walla Community College (yes, that's a real school), then finished up at the University of Washington before becoming an undrafted free agent on a one-year-old NFL franchise that still doesn't get much national pub going on year seven.
What's more, Pittman plays on the offensive line – an unheralded group to begin with – and very sparingly (ie, when the Texans are lining up for a punt, field goal or extra point). The only time any member of the media other than a play-by-play commentator mentions his name is when he makes a mistake. And Pittman has had only one bad snap in his pro career.
So, let's see: we have an undrafted player who went to an obscure community college, plays at arguably the most overlooked position in the NFL and not only is incredibly consistent on the field but has circus-like talents off of it. Plus, he's a vowel away from sharing a name with rocker Brian Pittman, formerly of Relient K (a band which, eerily, is also a vowel away from sharing the name of the Texans' home stadium).
If that's not worthy of a cult following (and Pro Bowl special teams invitation at least once in his career), I don't know what is.
- Nick Scurfield