Heinz Field in Pittsburgh is generally regarded throughout the NFL as having one of the worst surface conditions on which to play. Sam Koch has a different perspective.
The clumps of grass and patches of dirt at Heinz Field are prime targets that the Ravens punter aims for when he’s trying to land punts inside the Steelers’ 20-yard line. In his career, Koch has dropped 14 punts inside the 20 at Heinz Field – more than any other opposing stadium he has visited.
“That ground is typically a little softer,” Koch said. “So by doing a rugby punt or even a spiral punt, it’s going to have a tendency to drop and hit softer rather than on a turf where it’s going to drop and really generate that bounce. So the advantage of this is, there’s going to be a softer bounce. Maybe it won’t be as high or as elusive of a bounce.”
The flipside is that punts from deep in Ravens territory may not gain as much yardage because any punts that hit the grass won’t bounce as far, Koch acknowledged.
“You’ve got the ground to deal with as far as bumps and loose dirt and all that stuff,” he said. “But as far as a ball bouncing, I find it to be a little more advantageous, and it’ll help us inside the 20.”