the study of the kicking components within sports

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Matt Stover: Specialist Tributes

Yesterday, word spread through cyberspace. Today, kicker Matt Stover announces his retirement from the NFL. At the following two links you can check out the impressive numbers and records from his long, productive, and accurate career, as well his charity work through the Matt Stover Foundation.

We asked fellow specialists to weigh in with their memories and thoughts for the occasion:

"Matt Stover represents all that is good as a kicker. He was consistently excellent over a long period of time. He was a leader on his team and in the NFLPA. Three kickers in NFL history have carried their team to an NFL championship: Mark Moseley, Adam Vinatieri, and Stover. Remember that 2000 season there was a long period in which the Ravens offense did not score a TD. Matt took younger kickers like myself under his wings and imparted knowledge that made us better kickers but also better men."

"My memories of Matt were mainly of his time with the Baltimore Ravens. When the team moved to Baltimore it was also during the time frame when I really focused more on kicking in high school and I was paying attention to kickers in the league. I remember him always being one of the better kickers in the league in points each year throughout his career and watching him kick in the Super Bowl. He was also a great kicker to have on your Fantasy Football Team, as he rarely missed! Congrats on a great career."

"Too bad. It was always neat to watch him come out of his unique stance - especially since the ball went through nearly every time. I wonder how he developed that stance? Regardless he's a great kicker who was fun to watch. All the best to him and his family post retirement!"

Carlos Ojeda, Erie Explosion kicker
"Classic pre-kick stance.. and as solid a kicker you'll find."

Steve Hauschka, Denver Broncos kicker
"Matt is a true kicking professional. He works hard in the weight room, on the practice field, on the mental piece and to top it off is a great person. It's no wonder he had such an accomplished career."

Craig Hentrich, NFL punter 1994-2009, LEGacy Kicking
Matt was one of the best and most consistent kickers in NFL history. It has been a pleasure watching, playing against, and knowing Matt for all these years. Best of luck to him!

Mike Lansford, LA Rams kicker 1982-1990, Mike Lansford Kicking
"At the end of my career I left the Los Angeles Rams via 'Plan B' (a freak version of free agency) and signed a contract with the Cleveland Browns. Bill Belichick was just named the new coach for the Browns. He and I had crossed paths my entire career - he was the Special Teams coach for the NY Giants when they drafted me. He watched in horror as I tried to adjust to kicking without a field goal tee, killing the backsides of the Giant linemen... cut me... then (after I became a barefoot kicker and made the Rams) praised my abilities and was very friendly as we met before games and after each time we faced each other over the next 9 seasons.

So, I felt like Cleveland (although a bit frosty for a barefoot kicker) would be a great move for me at that time of my career. So I signed with the Browns for a salary that was pretty high for the time. What I didn't know was that Belichick was also romancing a young kicker named Matt Stover. Stover had been on the Giants, yet hadn't been active. I was very much aware of his talent as he and I were on the tryout circuit during the Free Agency period and kicked against each other multiple times. The Browns signed Stover too... then strangely - while in the best shape of my life - the Browns "failed me on my physical" and released me. Matt Stover ends up kicking for 19 years and being a talented and respected professional and representative of the NFL, on and off the field.

Congrats on a great career!"

Nick Novak, NY Jets kicker
"I always admired Matt's consistency on the field and off. He sets a very high standard for young men to follow. What stands out the most for me is when Matt wrote a letter to me after I hit a game winning field goal against Georgia Tech. He wrote to not only congratulate me, but to also lift me up. Prior to that kick it was a rough redshirt freshman campaign with the Terps. What struck me, was that Matt was actually watching and wanted to see me be successful on the field, but more importantly he taught me to let go and let God take over. Matt is one of the best to ever kick. He deserves nothing short of a first ballet Hall of Fame nomination. You're an inspiration, thanks for always giving back and using your platform as an NFL kicker to do so many great things in the community."

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