In the jubilant moments after a Bucs win, Dirk Koetter will sometimes ask for a game-used ball from his equipment staff, hold it high in the locker room and present it to the player who was most crucial to the victory. NFL players can ask for balls during games for any number of reasons — their first touchdown, a rare interception — but getting a game ball with a celebrating team encircled around them is as good as it gets. "It means the world to me, coming from Coach Koetter, and it’s a testament to the fact that we’re a gritty football team and it takes all parts to win the game," said kicker Patrick Murray, who got the game ball Sunday after kicking three field goals against the Dolphins, including one that gave the Bucs a 23-20 lead with four seconds left in a 30-20 win. Murray had holder Bryan Anger and long snapper Garrison Sanborn sign the ball, and he said he will collect signatures from the rest of the field goal unit on the final kick. Even if only one person gets the ball, the team shares in the moment. "It’s an honor. Any time you’re recognized by your coaches, that respect is awesome to have," said rookie receiver Chris Godwin, who earned a game ball Nov. 12 for the Bucs’ win over the Jets. "As a young guy, to be able to contribute and get a game ball in my first start was awesome." Godwin has the ball in his locker, memorialized with his name in the Bucs’ font, as well as the game’s date, location, team logos and score.
Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats
Tampa Bay Times | Nov 25