ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — At first, Sam Martin was trying to do something nice for mom and dad.
And then, when mom and dad couldn’t make the trip once the time came to see the Broadway show "The Music Man" in midtown Manhattan, mom helped her son do something even nicer.
Here’s the story: About three or four months ago, Martin, a kind soul and the Broncos’ record-setting punter, bought his Florida-based parents, Tom and Debbie, tickets for the popular New York City show for the Sunday, May 8 matinee. A whim of generosity.
As it turned out, May 8 was Mother’s Day. That’s cool, Martin thought. Even better.
But late last week, Mr. and Mrs. Martin decided they weren’t going to be able to make the trip.
"So rather than resell them with it being on Mother’s Day, we thought this is a perfect opportunity to help another family to go," Martin said. "If not, the tickets would have gone to waste. It was more so my mom and dad’s idea. Really my mom said, ‘How ‘bout for Mother’s Day, your gift to me is to donate them."
But with Martin in Denver and his parents in Florida and time short, giving the tickets away to someone in need – which went for $600 each on the weekend matinee shows – wasn’t an easy endeavor. Martin called his agent Sean Kiernan of Athlete’s First and Kiernan enlisted two of his assistants, Olivia Green and Paige Cooper. After calling on a couple of charitable organizations, Green and Cooper found Wind of the Spirit, an organization dedicated to bettering the lives of immigrant lives in the greater New York City area who face financial hardships.
The tickets went to a single mother and her daughter.
"Olivia went to work, found a family," Martin said. "And then I said how we make it a day for them."
It was arranged for a driver to take mom and daughter into the city, give them good seats at the play, then have dinner at the popular Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, before a driver took them back home.
"We got in touch with the daughter and she said it was something her mother really needed and could use right now," Martin said. "It had been a while since they’ve been able to do anything, anything fun. It wound up being kind of a perfect little storm."
As for his professional offseason, Martin has bounced between working out at the team facility and working out on his own with his personal punting coach. He will be with the team the rest of the offseason. Because Broncos’ special teams struggled as a whole in recent years, Martin’s punting prowess since signing with the Broncos as a free agent two years ago has been widely overlooked. Not only did his 42.8 yard net average last season surpass Britton Colquitt’s 42.1-yard team record set in 2012, but Martin’s 41.4-yard average in 2020 ranks third in team history.
Martin is especially adept at the diagonal and placement punt. He had 28 punts inside the 20 last season against just 3 touchbacks. That's how you set a team record in net punting.
So far Martin is off to a good start in 2022 with his new special teams coaches, coordinator Dwayne Stukes and assistant Mike Mallory.
"All the coaches, it’s been really great," Martin said. "A lot of good energy. A lot of good dialogue, a lot of good communication. It hasn’t been that long and already I feel like I have a good rapport with coach Stukes and coach Mallory. How they like to do things, how I like to do things, how we’re going to do things together -- it makes you real excited."
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