Matt Stover, One Of Ravens All Time Greats Set To Retire In Baltimore

Steve O Speak

A Guest Blog By Alan Zlot

When debating who has been the greatest Raven since the team arrived from Cleveland in 1996, two names always surface—Ray Lewis and Jonathan Ogden.

One player’s name who deserves to be in the discussion will officially retire from the NFL tomorrow.

According to the Baltimore Sun and longtime Ravens placekicker, Matt Stover, will announce his retirement from the NFL after 19 seasons.

The Baltimore Ravens are expected to unofficially sign Stover to a one-day contract, allowing him to retire as a Raven.

Players are not allowed to sign official contracts during the lockout. The press conference will be streamed live on the Ravens’ website at approximately 3 p.m. EST.

Stover is the Ravens’ all-time leading scorer with 1,464 points and was their entire offense on many occasions.

Kickers are generally not considered leaders on football teams, but Stover was different.

He was a leader for the Ravens on and off the field during his time in Baltimore.

Stover attended Louisiana Tech University and was drafted by the New York Giants with the 329th selection in 1990. When he failed to beat out Matt Bahr, he landed in Cleveland.

Stover stayed with Cleveland through the move to Baltimore and became the last Ravens’ player with ties to both franchises.

In 2009, the Ravens did not offer to bring Stover back, but midway through the ’09 season, he signed with the Indianapolis Colts after Adam Vinatieri was injured.

Stover made an immediate impact in Indy, where he kicked the game-winning field goal against the New England Patriots two weeks after his arrival, helping the Colts reach a 9-0 record.

Stover remained consistent and accurate in Indy, where the Colts reached the Super Bowl that season.

Stover in SB w/Colts

Eleven days past his 42nd birthday, Stover set an NFL record when he became the oldest player to play and score in a Super Bowl.

Stover is listed as the seventh most accurate kicker in NFL history, but that number and ranking do not do justice to what Stover accomplished or how reliable he was in clutch situations.

He was good 83.7 percent (471/563) of the time and was seemingly never rattled as his 14 game-winning field goals were the most in NFL history following the 2009 season.

Mike Vanderjagdt is the only kicker on the list who ranks higher than Stover and is no longer playing in the league. In 19 seasons, Stover attempted 594 extra points, missing only three.

With 2,004 points, Stover ranks fourth all time in the NFL in scoring. He once kicked a field goal in 38 consecutive games for the Ravens, an NFL record.

Only kickers Morten Andersen, Gary Anderson and John Carney scored more NFL points than Stover, and Hall Of Famer (just planting a seed) George Blanda is fifth with 2,002 points.

Perhaps the number that speaks to Stover’s reliability and skill the most is that he missed just four field goals in 188 attempts of 30 yards or shorter.

Stover was the unsung hero—and possibly the MVP—of the 2000 Ravens’ Super Bowl team during the regular season. Without Stover, the Ravens could still be without a ring.

During the season—and before Baltimore was considered a contender—the Ravens’ offense sputtered through a five-game stretch where they failed to score a touchdown.

Super Bowl XXXV

Stover came through for the purple and black, scoring 49 points during the TD draught. Stover’s leg and a tenacious Baltimore defense still won two of those games.

It marked the second season Stover was selected to the Pro Bowl. He also made the team in 1994 as a member of the Browns.

Known as “Mr. Automatic” and “Money Matt” during his career, the Dallas native was loved by fans and players throughout his 13-year career in Baltimore.

As a Ravens’ fan, I cannot tell you how many times I high-fived a buddy as Stover walked out to kick a field goal, telling my friend, “At least we got three.”

This was on most occasions before Stover even kicked the ball. Pointing to the sky following every made field goal, Stover rarely let his team down.

“He’s one of the better men that I’ve ever been around my whole life,” Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said two seasons ago. “He’s a class guy. You know that in clutch times, Stover is always going to be there.”

Stover was respected in the locker room and throughout the entire Baltimore community. No. 3 jerseys were a common sight at home games.

Stover’s charitable foundation is his pride and joy.

Believing heavily in his faith, Stover formed the Matt Stover Foundation in June 2002.

According to the foundation’s website, the mission is to provide financial support to underfunded educational, religious and other charitable organizations.

No.3 for the Chiefs

The only kicker currently in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame is former Kansas City Chiefs’, Green Bay Packers’ and Minnesota Vikings’ kicker, Jan Stenerud. Inducted into Canton in 1991, he was also named the kicker on the NFL’s 75th anniversary team.

For the record, Stover attempted five more kicks over his career than Stenerud, making almost 100 more.

Stover’s field goal percentage is almost 17 percent higher, and he missed 18 less extra point attempts than did the Norwegian-born Stenerud.

It is a shame, but kickers do not make the Hall Of Fame.

However, just like a few other great kickers in NFL history sitting on Canton’s doorstep, waiting for their call, Stover will also deserve to be there when his time comes.

Stover was a vital part of the Ravens and remains a vital part of the Baltimore community.

Congratulations, Matt Stover, on a great career. You were one of the best kickers in NFL history, but more importantly to me, one of the greatest Ravens of all time.


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