New England Patriots punter Ryan Allen is on a whirlwind ride. Undrafted out of Louisiana Tech, he signed with the Patriots in April of 2013, beat out veteran punter Zoltan Mesko, and, this year, won a Super Bowl as the team’s punter and holder for kicker Stephen Gostkowski. At age 25, he has already had a full life in football, and of course, golf.
“My dad got me into golf when I was about 9-years old,” says Allen, a native of Salem, Oregon. “We played at Fiddler’s Green outside of Eugene. Dad golfed with his co-workers and I would caddy and play a few holes. I really didn’t play a lot in college, but eventually got back into it.”
Allen redshirted at Oregon State before transferring to Louisiana Tech where he was an All-American and two-time Ray Guy Award winner as the nation’s top punter. He sees the similarities between golf and punting. “Both are a one-rep exercise. You only get one swing, and you only get one chance at punting. Your approach, progression, and alignment are all very important.”
Salem Golf Course in Oregon is Allen’s favorite home course. He has also played Spring Valley in Sharon, MA with Gostkowksi and looks forward to trying Ferncroft and other local courses this offseason.
Says Allen, “We all put a lot of effort and time in at the facility, so it’s great to have something that takes your head away from football. The veterans on the team have really passed golf down to us. We are all very competitive and golf can be quite frustrating at times.”
This frustration is tempered by elation. Allen discusses his most memorable golf moment. “I was playing with my grandfather and my father when I was about 10 years old. I actually birdied a tough par 4, and they were absolutely amazed. I was walking around on my high horse for the next two weeks!”
Playing for the best team in the NFL is great, but playing for Bill Belichick, a special teams maven, is extra special for a punter. Allen relates, “Coach Belichick always puts an emphasis on special teams, and we know the knowledge that he brings to the table. He recalls moments and information that he experienced many years ago. It’s almost like he is never wrong.”
So, what was this top ten NFL punter doing when Malcolm Butler’s Super Bowl-winning interception heard ‘round the world occured? He responds, “We were all kind of just standing around hoping that the defense would make a big play. When Malcolm made that interception, everybody just screamed. It was amazing.”
The Patriots have forged an unmatched winning formula, so what is the secret? Allen points to leadership. “Guys like Tom Brady and Darrelle Revis relate to us on a truly inspirational and positive level. Their attitude and personalities set the tone and allow us to weather any storm.”
This includes tropical storm Deflategate, which hit the New England shores after the AFC Title game. Allen explains the team’s approach stating, “It was a big deal to everyone except us. We have no control over that. We were more focused on preparing to go to a Super Bowl. I think as a team we handled it very well.”
In typical Patriot fashion, Allen’s offseason will consist of a little golf and a lot of doing his job. He relates, “It’s a blessing to be in an organization where everybody works hard. No matter how successful you become, you have to keep working to contribute to the team. I love these players. That’s my driving force to keep giving it my all.”
John Molori is the co-author of “The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball’s Prized Players.” Like him on Facebook at John Molori, Twitter @MoloriMedia. Email email@example.comWHAT'S YOUR REACTION?