After 16 years as a Baltimore Raven, punter Sam Koch has said goodbye as an NFL player. A 2006 sixth-round pick for the Ravens out of Nebraska, Koch played a franchise-record 256 games and held a 239 consecutive game streak — before missing one due to COVID in 2020.
Koch will surely go down as a punting legend in Baltimore. His resume includes a Pro Bowl, a second-team All-Pro and a career average of 45.3 yards per punt. He will also be remembered fondly for what proved to be a critical play in Super Bowl XLVII, where Koch took a punt snap in the back of the end zone. With 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Ravens leading by five points, Koch held the ball and bled a gut-wrenching eight seconds off the clock before taking a safety. He then boomed a 61-yard punt down the field with four seconds remaining, where the final tackle was made with no time on the clock.
More absurdly, he will also go down as the Ravens’ franchise record-holder for the best completion percentage (minimum eight attempts). Koch was well known for his fake punts, completing all but one of his eight total passes. His lone incompletion came this past season. On a more serious note, Koch is often talked about revolutionizing modern punting. Boasting a large selection of punt types, Koch is considered around the league as one of the first guys to bring different types of kicks to the NFL for punters.
The first one developed was a punt in 2014 engineered for dangerous returner Antonio Brown. After the success in the game, Koch and the special teams room spent much time continuing to develop new styles that changed the punting game in the NFL forever. A player that wasn’t invited to the combine, hard work and perfection is a large part of what defined Koch’s career.
The most underrated part of Koch’s career was his skill and perfection in holding kicks for Justin Tucker. He has held all but one of Tucker’s 326 career field goal makes. No matter how bad the snap was, which wasn’t often with Morgan Cox, Koch always has managed to make every hold as perfect as possible. This talent is one that will be sorely missed.
A heartfelt press conference was held for Sam Koch on Thursday where, with many tears in the room, Koch thanked many people and said farewell in a nine-page speech. Current and former teammates of Koch showed up to pay respect to one of the best punters of this era.
While No. 4 is hanging up the cleats, he isn’t leaving Baltimore just yet. Koch will be staying on with the Ravens as a Special Teams Consultant. The Ravens drafted Jordan Stout, a punter from Penn State, in the fourth round last month. In his press conference remarks, Koch said that he looks forward to helping Stout be the next great Raven and NFL punter/holder.