The Baltimore Ravens are known for their defense but one of their secret weapons over the years has been punter Sam Koch. After 16 years of punting for the Ravens, Koch retired last week.
“Today I am retiring from playing professional football,” Koch said. “I am very fortunate to have played 16 years here in Baltimore. Everything this organization does is first class, in every manner. I’ve also played under only two general managers and two head coaches. That just tells you how solid this organization is from top to bottom.”
Koch said he received a call on draft day from Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta, saying the team was considering using one of their picks to draft a punter. That writing on the wall influenced the 39-year-old veteran to realize his playing years were coming to an end.
Koch was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round (203rd overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft. In his rookie season, he played in all 16 regular season games, punting 86 times for 3,695 yards and placing 30 of those inside the 20 which ranked fourth in the NFL. He made his NFL debut at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In 2015 Koch was named a second-team All Pro and played in the Pro Bowl.
Koch was a contributor to the Ravens’ second Lombardi championship when they defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. Koch made key contributions on the final two plays of the Super Bowl, first scrambling in his own end zone to burn time off the clock before taking an elective safety with four seconds remaining. On the next play, he converted a 60-yard free-kick which left the 49ers well outside field goal range and allowed the clock to run out after the ball was fielded
“When you have an athlete back there to make the plays back there that Sam [Koch] did – that truly was a game-changer. And then the second thing is Sam Koch changed punting,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
“A lot of people don’t know it, but all the punters know it, and all the punting coaches know it, and all the people who study the game know it. When Sam got started, all anybody ever did was punt it straight. You might punt it straight-middle, straight-right, or straight-left, and you hope you turn the ball over, right? Sam changed all of that – with [former Ravens special teams coordinator/associate head coach] Jerry [Rosburg], and with [special teams coach] Randy [Brown], and Sam.”
Koch now serves as a special teams consultant for the Ravens. One of his primary jobs will be mentoring rookie punter Jordan Stout, who was selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.