Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans haven't had much to get excited about this season. Heading into their game with the Atlanta Falcons on December 18 their record stands at 4-9. Though there has been one bright spark to the their season in the shape of New Jersey-born but Monaghan-reared Patrick Murray. The kicker is statistically Tampa's most successful kicker of all time and he thinks Gaelic football might have something to do with that.
Speaking to the Irish Daily Mail on Sunday, Murray explained that he uses the GAA ball almost every day in practice. Murray said, "The way I kick a ball is the same way I would have kicked a Gaelic ball because that is how I was brought up. The Gaelic ball is obviously a lot heavier. That has helped me create that strength, power and whip I brought into this game. When it comes down to it, I used the exact same routine I had when I stand over a free in Gaelic park, three steps back and two steps over."
Murray went on to mention in the interview that he believes that other GAA players could make it in the NFL. He said, "I think there are a lot of Gaelic footballers who could make the transition." Both Murray's father, Aidan, and his uncle, Ciaran, were Ulster champions with Monaghan during the 1980s.
A native of Mahwah, New Jersey, Murray attended Fordham University in New York City where he was a three time All-American. He first joined the Tampa Buccaneers in December 2013 where he suffered injury problems until being released in May 2016. After that, Murray was picked up by the Cleveland Browns where he was dogged by further injury problems that would even follow him through his brief tenure in New Orleans. Following Nick Folk's disastrous three missed field goals against the New England Patriots, Murray was rejoined Tampa in October 2017.
Upon his return to Tampa, Murray admitted that he saw a psychic regularly, so maybe GAA isn't the only thing helping his kicking skills. Murray told the Tampa Bay Times, "This woman happens to be really Irish-Catholic. Very, very deeply into her faith. She worked at my gym and there are things she has mentioned that I have told nobody and there are things that she said would happen that have happened. It’s validation for me. And maybe it is speaking about my feelings and having her respond. Getting into a dialogue and then having something validated that allows me to feel the way I feel. And maybe that’s just all I needed." He continued, "I’m a better man. Mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually I am a better man, so absolutely I am a better kicker as well."