On Saturday, December 14th, Bernie’s Book Bank welcomed nearly 150 guests for the inaugural Patrick Mannelly Award presented by William Blair.

This award, named after former Chicago Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly, is given to the best FBS senior Long Snapper based on snap speed, accuracy, consistency, mental approach, athleticism, size and coverage skills. The Patrick Mannelly Award was founded by Kevin Gold, Patrick Mannelly and Chris Rubio with the goal of providing rare recognition for the vital role that the Long Snappers play in football.

You might be thinking, what does Bernie’s Book Bank have in common with an award for collegiate Long Snappers?

Long Snappers are the ultimate unsung heroes of football. Not successful field goal, extra point or punt can happen without a successful snap to get it started.

Bernie’s Book Bank has a similar role – no child can learn to read without books. We serve behind the scenes yet are an integral player in the literacy equation. Both the Long Snapper and Bernie’s Book Bank value excellence, integrity, effectiveness, teamwork and balance. This makes Bernie’s Book Bank the perfect nonprofit partner for the Patrick Mannelly Award.

To find the best Long Snapper in the nation, the selection committee started with a watchlist of 25 players. Throughout the season this list was narrowed down, leaving three Long Snappers as finalists: Liam McCullough of Ohio State, John Shannon of University of Notre Dame and Steven Wirtel of Iowa State.

McCullough and Wirtel had the chance to experience the mission of Bernie’s Book Bank in action when they joined the book distribution at Zapata Academy on Friday, December 13th. The finalists helped deliver a bag of six books to every child and even stopped in the third-grade classrooms to read books aloud to the students. 

The following evening Bernie’s Book Bank opened its doors to host the Patrick Mannelly Award dinner. The event kicked off with a welcome from Mannelly himself and featured a lively discussion with Chicago Bears legends Charles “Peanut” Tillman and Olin Kreutz, moderated by David Kaplan of NBC Sports.

When the time came to find out which Long Snapper would take home the hardware, every guest was ready in anticipation. Bernie’s Book Bank Founder and Chief Advancement Officer Brian Floriani had the honor of announcing John Shannon of Notre Dame as the inaugural winner of the Patrick Mannelly Award.

“Long Snappers are behind the scenes and rarely receive acknowledgment for their hard work,” Mannelly shared. “This recognition is long overdue, and John Shannon is an excellent pick by the selection committee as the first winner of the award.”

Shannon, a three-year starter from Lake Forest, Illinois, is an economics major in the College of Arts and Letters at University of Notre Dame. The 6’2’’ senior has handled every snap for the last three seasons. He was widely considered the top snapping prospect in the 2015 recruiting class and helped Loyola Academy to a state title his senior season. Shannon is a third-generation Notre Dame football player; his father Gerard and grandfather Dan played for the Fighting Irish during their college years.

Shannon expressed his gratitude for recognition as the top Long Snapper alongside award finalists Liam McCullough of The Ohio State University and Steven Wirtel of Iowa State University.

“Both Liam and Steven would have been deserving recipients of this award,” Shannon acknowledged. “I can’t wait to see who wins it next year.”

Mannelly is widely known as the best Long Snapper in the modern NFL era. He was a four-year starter at Long Snapper and two-year starter on the offensive line at Duke University before being drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1998. Mannelly is the longest tenured Chicago Bear after playing 16 seasons and a recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award.

In conjunction with the Patrick Mannelly Award, and in honor of the number Mannelly wore as a member of the Chicago Bears, the #65 Honor Roll was formed to recognize exemplary high school football players across Chicagoland. The #65 Honor Roll is comprised of players who exemplify the following values: EXCELLENCE, INTEGRITY, EFFECTIVENESS, TEAMWORK and BALANCE. A total of 14 players were recognized in the first year of the #65 Honor Roll:

 

Charlie Aberle, Lake Forest High School

Gustavo Azevedo, Waubonsie Valley High School

Anthony Calderon, Kennedy High School

Chris Clarke, Lyons Township High School

Reilly Corken, Batavia High School

Reggie Davis, King High School

Thomas Dvorak, Fenwick High School

Matt Fell, St. Charles North High School

Will Halkyard, Glenbard West High School

Christopher Kelly, Loyola Academy High School

Myron Lewis, St. Laurence High School

AJ Markett, Marist High School

Robert Meyer-Shaffer, Antioch Community High School

Peter Skoronski, Maine South High School

Stay tuned for information about the 2020 Patrick Mannelly Award!

Take a look at the gallery below for photos from the 2019 Patrick Mannelly Award –