The good people at FootballOutsiders.com went through the gamebooks from all 256 of this year’s regular-season games and tabulated the total number of snaps played by every player in the NFL.
Thanks to playing center on an offense that likes to play at a rapid-fire pace and getting through the year fairly healthy, the Patriots’ Ryan Wendell was the 2012 leader in total snaps played.
Wendell played 1,231 offensive snaps (out of a possible 1,237) and 148 special teams snaps for a total of 1,379. The NFL runner-up was Patriots left tackle Nate Solder, who was on the field for 1,234 offensive snaps and 105 special teams snaps, for a total of 1,339.
“I was happy to find that out,” Wendell said. “I think it says a lot about the organization as a whole, the guys around us — our athletic trainers, Jim Whalen and Joe Van Allen, along with the strength and conditioning coaches, Harold Nash and Moses Cabrera, who spend a lot of time and effort trying to make sure that we’re healthy and out on the field as much as we can.”
Wendell, a first-year starter, played at a high level, earning the respect of quarterback Tom Brady.
“He’s done a great job,” Brady said. “He’s really done a great job since he got here. He fought for his opportunity and once he got it this year, he really took advantage. He’s been healthy and durable, consistent. Playing center on our team is not easy — there are a lot of adjustments and calls that we have, both the communication I have with him and what he relays to the rest of the offensive linemen.
“He’s done a great job. He’s a tough, hard-nosed football player that loves the game and loves to compete.”
Patriots defensive back/safety Devin McCourty ranked third in total snaps with 1,329, with 1,073 on defense and 256 on special teams.
Devin’s twin brother Jason, a Titans cornerback, was fifth on the list with 1,282 total snaps (1,125 on defense, 157 on special teams).