Recipients of the 2021 Patrick Mannelly Award
By Adam Petrus | November 23, 2022

Chalk Talk Episode #10: Legendary NFL Long Snapper Patrick Mannelly and Bernie’s Book Bank CEO Darrin Utynek Team Up to Share Stories of Unsung Heroes

This dynamic duo met by chance. Now, they’re giving others a chance to “change their story." Find out why – and how – they’re rewriting the stories of so many kids across America (possibly even yours).

There’s a reason why student athletes must keep their grades up to maintain their eligibility. Reading, writing, and arithmetic unlock career opportunities. Not just in an office, but in stadiums and arenas around the world. As legendary NFL Long Snapper Patrick Mannelly put it, “Playbooks aren’t just a bunch of X’s and O’s.” They’re a reading, writing and arithmetic assignment.  

That’s one of the reasons why he has teamed up with Darrin Utynek, CEO of Bernie’s Book Bank, to help build home libraries for children in underserved communities. Books are powerful. They help millions of people write better stories for themselves. And the sooner a child starts to read, the sooner they can start to build their (literacy) superpower and find their literal superpower – on and off the field.  

The other reason: Patrick loves to share a good story. And, boy, does he have a lot of stories. Not just about how he accidentally became a Long Snapper in the backyard of his childhood home, or how he went on to become the most storied long snapper in NFL history. Rather, Patrick’s stories – the ones he feels we should be telling more often – are the stories of all the other Long Snappers whose steady hands, quiet dedication and selflessness have made them arguably the most valuable members of every football team out there. So, when Patrick was looking for a way to get the stories of these unsung heroes out to the world, he found a “publisher” in Bernie’s Book Bank. 

Now, Bernie’s Book Bank hosts the Patrick Mannelly Award dinner* each December to simultaneously share inspiring stories of college long snappers and help fundraise for the book distributions that help inspire elementary school students to one day become a “long snapper” – whether on the football field, the legal field, healthcare, or any profession that calls to them.  

Tune into our 30-minute chat now to hear more about the unsung heroes that Patrick and Darrin have come together to honor and help nurture: 

Chalk Talk Episode #10: The Dynamic Duo

We also talk about:

  • How few kids really have access to books, and how Patrick and Darrin are working to change those stats.

  • What Patrick witnessed at a recent book distribution with Bernie’s Book Bank.  

  • How RFID technology (and the NFL’s Next Gen Stats generated from that tech) can help long snappers improve their game as well as the execution of plays across the entire field, according to Patrick. 

  • What RFID technology is doing for nonprofits like Bernie’s Book Bank and others in the distribution business, according to Darrin.

  • What Patrick decided to do in retirement and why (besides team up with Darrin and the Bernie’s Book Bank crew).

  • How you can attend – or volunteer at – the upcoming Patrick Mannelly Award dinner. (There will be a lot of special guests from the sports world, including our friend David Kaplan.)

  • How you can be a hero to kids and help support Bernie’s Book Bank all year long.  


*Zebra is the sponsor of the Patrick Mannelly Award dinner and a philanthropic partner of Bernie’s Book Bank, which you can read about here:

Why We Honor the Long Snapper, The Unsung Hero of Football and Life


Catch Up on Chalk Talk Now:

Inside Zebra Nation, Hospitality, Corporate Social Responsibility, Podcast, Podcast, Interview, RFID,
Adam Petrus
Adam Petrus

Adam Petrus is currently the Business Development and Sales Lead for Sports & Entertainment at Zebra Technologies where he is responsible for growing Zebra’s hardware and software solutions across the world of sports and the entertainment industry.   Prior to joining the sales team Adam co-managed Zebra’s game day operation of the NFL’s Next Gen Stats program and served as the project lead for the NFL’s Equipment Tracking Program, Virtual Locker.  Adam has more than 15 years of experience within the sports and technology industry and has been working with Next Gen Stats since 2015.  Previously, he worked in the front office of an NFL Football Club, served within the United States Intelligence Community supporting special operations to include two and a half years in Iraq and was a licensed and certified sports agent.  Adam holds a bachelor’s degree from Baldwin Wallace University out of Berea, Ohio and attended the International Institute for Management & Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland where he earned a certificate in Business Management and Leadership.

As an active member of the community, Adam serves on the Baldwin Wallace University Carmel-Boyer School of Business Advisory Council, served on the Board of the Ponte Vedra Beach Rotary International Club and is a member of the Jacksonville JAXSports Council - a non-profit established to enhance and positively impact the quality of life and community pride, along with generating economic impact and growth through professional and amateur sports. An outdoor enthusiast, Adam enjoys running, paddle boarding, golfing and being an active parent alongside his wife Jenn to their daughters Olivia (7) & Peyton (5) and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Gunner and Nash.  

Fun Fact: 

"My first job in the NFL was at age 16 when I was hired by the Cleveland Browns Groundcrew.  This position then led to a promotion into the front office when I was in college and a full-time role upon graduation." 

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