DENVER — Anonymity is Casey Kreiter’s best friend.
The less you know about the National Football League long snapper the better.
If Kreiter does his job, nobody knows his name.
If he messes up, especially in a key moment in a game, then everybody immediately learns who he is.
Kreiter excelled while handling snapping duties on punts, field goals and extra points in the Denver Broncos’ dramatic 24-21 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday night.
The DeWitt native and former Iowa Hawkeye is in his second year as Denver’s long snapper.
The 27-year-old Kreiter endured his share of adversity on his road to football’s elite level.
Kreiter spent two seasons in training camp with the Dallas Cowboys in 2014 and 2015 but failed to make the opening-day roster.
“I thought I was done,” he said. “It obviously didn’t end the way I wanted it to in Dallas.”
Kreiter then landed a full-time position as a science teacher at Iowa City High School.
“I told my wife maybe I should hang it up, and she said, ‘No, keep trying.’ And my agent said the same thing,” Kreiter said. “Two days after saying yes to City High, I got a call and ended up getting signed.
“I called the principal and said, ‘Hey, remember that thing we talked about where if the NFL calls I’m going to have to go? It happened.’ I felt bad because they trusted me to come teach for them. But the people at the school were super supportive when I signed with the Broncos.”
The 6-foot-1, 250-pound Kreiter made the Denver roster in 2016, appearing in 10 games before being sidelined with a torn calf muscle.
He joined a team last season that was coming off a win in Super Bowl 50 and featured players such as All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller.
“Right away, you are kind of star-struck,” Kreiter said. “And then you stick around longer, and guys like Von know your name and they mess with you in the locker room and you hang out with them. Eventually, you become one of the guys.”
Kreiter opened July’s training camp as the No. 1 snapper and has remained there.
“This was my fourth training camp, but your job is still on the line,” he said. “The experience does help a lot. You know what to expect and it’s not quite as stressful.”
His name didn’t appear on the box score Monday, but here’s how Kreiter fared in the season opener:
n Punt snaps: 3
n Field-goal snaps: 2
n Extra-point snaps: 3
n Good snaps: 8
n Bad snaps: 0
“Casey’s awesome — he’s the best snapper I’ve ever been around,” Broncos punter Riley Dixon said. “He works very hard every day, and he’s a guy we can definitely rely on. He has one of the most thankless jobs out there, but man does he do it well.”
Broncos kicker Brandon McManus also had high praise for Kreiter.
“Casey deserves a lot of recognition — he’s an outstanding snapper,” McManus said. “He just needed an opportunity. He’s phenomenal at what he does. He makes both my job and Riley’s job so easy. He’s pretty much perfect out there.”
So how did Kreiter become a snapper?
“My dad taught me,” Casey said. Kurt Kreiter played college football and then coached football and wrestling at Central DeWitt before taking his current position as athletic director at the school. “When I made a decision I wanted to play college football he told me, ‘This is a good skill to have and it’s going to give you value.’ I went to Iowa as a linebacker and snapped on the side. They were looking for snappers and I raised my hand and said, ‘I can do this.’
“I started focusing on snapping after that. It was a tough decision at the time, but it’s obviously worked out for the best in the long run. I’m happy I made it.”
Kreiter looked on anxiously as the Broncos blocked a game-tying field goal try in the closing seconds Monday.
“It was wild,” he said. “It was a crazy finish.”
Kreiter snapped in 40 games during his collegiate career at Iowa, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.
He was an interested observer when his alma mater pulled out an overtime win Saturday at Iowa State.
“Never a doubt in my mind,” Kreiter said. “I believe in those guys.”
Kreiter also appreciates the backing of people from DeWitt.
“It means a lot,” he said. “It’s really cool to have so much support from people back home – I love it. One of the reasons I wanted to make it this far is so kids back home could have someone to look up to. I try to be a good positive role model for the kids.”
Kreiter now has a child of his own. His wife, Meghan, gave birth to their son, Landen, in July.
“He’s two months old today,” Kreiter said just before the clock struck midnight on Monday night. “He was here tonight. I hope he behaved for Mom. I’m excited to go see him. Having a son changes everything. Being an NFL football player is pretty cool, but being a dad is the coolest thing I do. It’s pretty special.”
For now, life is good for Kreiter as an NFL snapper in Denver.
“It’s really exciting to have this opportunity,” he said. “I’m confident in my skills, and I’ve worked really hard to get to this point. I’m really enjoying it.”