By Samuel Njoku
Sam Koch, P, #4
Hometown: Seward, NE
Experience: 7 years
Few things remain constant in sports. The ever revolving door that is the NFL prompts teams to make decisions that forever change the fabric of their football team. This is why you’ll see LaDanian Tomlinson in a Chargers jersey one year and in a Jets jersey the next. So is life in the National Football League. But sometimes, this isn’t entirely the case. Some men become the face of the franchise, like Tom Brady and Ray Lewis. And then there are some men that go completely unnoticed. So is the case with Sam Koch. Ever reliable and rarely seen, Koch has done great at doing his job at a high level on a consistent basis. It’s why he’s finishing up his 7th year as a starter. His accolades go widely unnoticed and that comes with the territory, but as NFL Network’s Rich Eisen points out regularly: “Punters are people, too.”
Like many players before him, Koch walked on as a freshman for Nebraska where he played punter. He wouldn’t get much playing time until the 2005 season where he averaged 44.1 yards per kick, including 56 kicks inside the 20. His punting average ranked second in the nation and helped build a reputation for him as one of the best punters in the NCAA. After becoming a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award (best punter), it was clear that Koch could possibly make an impact on a professional level.
In 2006, the Baltimore Ravens drafted Sam Koch in the 6th round of the NFL Draft. Replacing Dave Zastadil, Koch would be asked to immediately step in and contribute on special teams. In his rookie season, Koch was 4th in the NFL in yards punted and has since set a franchise record for most punts in a player’s career with 475. Koch has also set the All-Time record for highest grossing punt average (44.2) and punts inside the 20 (170). He has also never missed a game and currently has the highest active streak on the Ravens roster.
These accolades may seem impressive to some, but if you ask Koch himself, he’ll tell you that his teammates aren’t that impressed.
“People think punters are worthless individuals, except for on Sundays,” Koch told BaltimoreRavens.com. “We’re at this part of the scale where they do whatever they can to make fun of us or make us seem not as much of a human as they are.”
That may have changed a little bit when Koch scored a touchdown on a fake field-goal against the Raiders earlier this year. The score was a first for Koch and inadvertently began the “Punters Are People, Too” movement in the Ravens locker room.
Rich Eisen has sent T-shirts to the facility in Owings Mills to Sam Koch and the catchphrase has caught on in a hurry. “It’s becoming a trend now,” said Koch.
Eisen has made a good point, especially as it pertains to Sam Koch. Punters are people, and on Sundays, punters like Sam Koch can be pretty special ones.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.