Stover To Join Ring of Honor

Matt Stover’s reliability and competitiveness helped him earn the Ravens’ highest award.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Thursday, May 26th, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Categories: Mike Duffy


The Ravens will bestow their highest award on Matt Stover by inducting him into the prestigious Ring of Honor.

The official unveiling of Stover’s plaque at M&T Bank Stadium will be at the Cincinnati Bengals matchup on Nov. 20.

During the press conference announcing Stover’s official retirement Thursday, Ravens officials were quick to point out the unique traits the longtime kicker possessed to dominate in the stat books and ultimately become a Ravens legend.

“I had a coach tell me very early on that reliability can be just as or more important than athletic ability, and I would have to say Matt has probably been one of the most reliable Baltimore Ravens that we’ve had in this franchise,” said General Manager Ozzie Newsome.
 
Newsome said that Stover would routinely vanquish offseason competition that included the likes of San Francisco’s Joe Nedney, Chicago’s Robbie Gould and Carolina’s Rhys Lloyd over the years.

While some questioned Stover’s distance, his automatic leg – especially inside the 40-yard line – made him a lock every season.

“I mean, we would complain about the kickoffs, we would complain about the distance on his field goals, and we would bring in some pretty good kickers to compete with him,” said Newsome. “To let you know the guys that we brought in that he was able to compete with and beat shows you the type of competitor that he was.

“Not only was he reliable, he was very competitive.”

The Ravens were always happy with Stover’s accuracy, as his 83.7-percent career success rate for field goals (471-of-583) are seventh in NFL history.

His 2,004 career points are fourth in league annals. For Baltimore, Stover also converted 402 of 403 extra point attempts.

The ability to perform at such a steady level each week is a tribute to Stover’s mental sharpness.

“There’s going to be some misses in there,” said Stover. “You understand that that’s part of it and do everything you can in preparation to not miss that field goal. So when I go out there and if I miss one, there’s no regret.

“There’s regret with respect that didn’t perform well, but there’s no regret in the fact that I didn’t do everything I could to make it. From a guilt perspective, it was gone. I looked it square in the eyes and didn’t want to do it. We all have bad plays. You get it off of you and you move on as quickly as you can.”

It seemed that whenever the Ravens needed a clutch kick, Stover was there to handle it.

There was the span of five games during Baltimore’s 2000 Super Bowl run where the Ravens never scored a touchdown and relied on Stover for all of their points.

“To win a game 15-10, to win two of five games when you don’t score a touchdown is something that I don’t think will ever be repeated in the NFL,” said Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti. “We’re allowed a little hero-worship around here in Baltimore with our kicker, because it’s tangible.

“I can go back to that and say Baltimore might still be searching for its first Super Bowl if it wasn’t for [Stover].”

Stover will join Earnest Byner, the eight Hall of Fame Baltimore Colts (Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry, Lenny Moore, Art Donovan, Gino Marchetti, John Mackey, Jim Parker and Ted Hendricks), Michael McCrary, Peter Boulware and Jonathan Ogden in the Ring of Honor.

For a man who became one of the greatest at his position while donning purple and black, Stover’s inclusion is only appropriate.

“The thing about being in the Ring of Honor is that I meant so much to my team and community,” said Stover. “It’s just an awesome, awesome privilege. I cannot imagine a greater honor that an organization can give to a player. I appreciate the Ravens for doing that.

“I’ll be proud to do it, retire as a Raven and be up there with a lot of great [men].”

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