When the Raiders open their 2013 season against the Colts in Indianapolis on Sept. 8, it will be a milestone for Jon Condo.
Condo, the Raiders’ long snapper, will play in his 100th consecutive Raiders game that day.
If you’re a die-hard Raiders fan, you know all about Condo, his effectiveness as a long snapper and his importance to Oakland. If you’re just a casual fan, you quickly learned his name in the 2012 season opener against the San Diego Chargers at O.co Coliseum.
When Condo had to leave the game with an injury in that Monday night game, the Raiders turned to linebacker and backup long snapper Travis Goethel, who quickly became the biggest difference-maker in the game. Goethel snapped two balls into the dirt, that led to a bad exchange of field position for the Raiders, and another punt was blocked while Goethel was snapping.
The mistakes figured prominently in a 22-14 loss to the Chargers in the debut of Raiders head coach Dennis Allen.
Said Allen of Goethel’s performance: “He was put into a tough situation, and it hurt us.”
Condo, 31, has been an almost anonymous source of excellence since playing his first game for the Raiders in 2007, following his release by the Dallas Cowboys in 2005. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder played just three games for Dallas in 2005 after playing college football at Maryland, then was signed by the Raiders in 2006. Since 2007, he has played every game of every season for Oakland and been selected to two Pro Bowls.
In March, Condo was selected by his teammates as the Commitment to Excellence Aware winner for exemplifying the “pride, poise and spirit of the Oakland Raiders.”
At the dinner where Condo was honored, Pro Football Hall of Fame center Jim Otto praised Condo for his professionalism.
“His long snapping is impeccable,” the former Raiders standout told Rebecca Corman of Raiders.com. “You have to have accuracy along with the speed as well, and Jon does it all. He’s valuable to the team, whether he’s a snapper, no matter what position he is, because you see him on the sideline, he’s hustling back and forth, he’s talking to his teammates, he’s cheering them on. He’s always been, as far as I can remember, as long as he’s been a Raider, a very excitable player, and that helps the team.”
At the dinner, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie referred to the opening-night debacle against the Chargers as proof of Condo’s worth.
“Did you see that first game of the year?” McKenzie told Corman. “That’s why (the long snapper) is kind of like the unsung hero. That’s a vital job for any team. You have to have a great snapper and we have one.”
The week after his head injury against the Chargers, Condo was back on the field against Miami (clearing the concussion test), keeping his streak alive.
While Condo’s 100th game in silver and black is a milestone, it’s not the most on the Raiders, by far. In the 2013 opener, his teammate, kicker Sebastian Janikowski, will play in his 205th.