On Sunday, Ravens punter Sam Koch made highlight reels across the country, as he rushed for his first career touchdown on a fake field goal against the Oakland Raiders.
The play call has caused some controversy, with many pointing the finger at coach John Harbaugh for running up the score. At the time, the Ravens were already leading the Raiders 41-17 with five minutes left in the third quarter.
However, that kind of thing is of no concern to Koch.
Once he crossed the goal line, Koch gripped the ball and slammed it to the ground with enthusiasm.
The spike is one of the oldest end zone celebrations in the book, and although it has never left football, it has seen new life thanks to New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Recently, his spikes have featured quirky dances prior to his driving the ball into the turf furiously. The dances now have fans talking more about the celebrations themselves than his actual play on the field.
Even though he’ll never outscore Gronkowski, Koch does believe he had a better spike.
“Obviously Gronkowski kind of made the spike [popular], but I’m going to have to say mine right now,” Koch said when asked who had the better spike. “I got the full thrust into it. I put everything I had into it because that was my first [touchdown] and quite possibly my last.”
It’s rare that a punter makes highlight reels for good reasons but his performance on Sunday drew plenty of text messages from fellow special teams players around the league.
The football used for his touchdown is now painted and in a bag on the bottom of his locker. Ultimately, it’ll end up in his trophy case, but Koch is still waiting on something to add to his closet – a Punters Are People, Too shirt made popular by Rich Eisen of NFL Network.
“Ed Reed told me about it,” Koch said. “I haven’t gotten one yet but I like the shirt.”
So Rich, if you’re reading this story, please send Sam a shirt. If you ignore him, you’ll make him feel just like most punters do – obscure.
Whether or not he gets his shirt, Koch doesn’t have to feel obscure in Baltimore, as the fan base loves him. And that’s something that not many punters can say.