OWINGS MILLS, Md. — While the Ravens will be focused on keeping pace in the AFC North when they face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, they will also recognize one of their greatest contributors as Matt Stover joins a select group at M&T Bank Stadium.
Stover will be inducted into the Ring of Honor during halftime, and the franchise’s all-time leading scorer becomes the fifth former Ravens player — eight Baltimore Colts players and former owner Art Modell are also members — to receive the distinction.
“I can’t say enough about the community of Baltimore and how they embraced the team back in ,” Stover said. “Remember, I was part of that. Just for me to be up there, everybody else is going to be up there with me. It’s not just Matt Stover. I don’t take full credit.”
By the time Stover finished his tenure with the Ravens in 2008, he was the only remaining member of the team who had made the move from Cleveland to Baltimore, earning him a special place in the hearts of fans. After he was unable to come to an agreement with the Ravens for a return in 2009, Stover eventually joined the Indianapolis Colts later that season when their regular kicker Adam Vinatieri went down with an injury.
Despite earning the opportunity to play with Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLIV, Stover met with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to clear the air for any possible misunderstanding that might have lingered about his departure after 13 years in Baltimore. His 207 games as a Raven rank as the second most in team history behind Ray Lewis.
“He kind of understood the situation prior to me even speaking to him, but I just wanted to sit down, man-to-man, because I respect him so much to say, ‘Look, here’s what happened,’” Stover said. “Right after that, he says, ‘You know, Matt, your name is going in that Ring of Honor.’ I went, ‘Wow. Are you kidding me? You want that for me? Unbelievable.’”
When asked about the favorite kick of his career, Stover recalled his game-winning kick against the Tennessee Titans in the 2008 divisional playoffs to send the Ravens to the AFC Championship game in a surprising season. The long-time kicker then mentioned his field goal shortly before halftime of Super Bowl XXXV to give the Ravens a 10-0 lead.
Because of the dominance exhibited by the 2000 defense, Stover’s field goal before intermission proved to be the game-deciding points.
“We get into the locker room at halftime, and the defense says, ‘It’s over. It’s over,’” Stover recalled. “I still get chills up my spine whenever I say that. It’s like, ‘It’s over? We only have 10 points!’ And they said, ‘They’re not scoring twice on us.’ And they didn’t.”
Stover may not have finished his career in Baltimore, but the man who produced 14 career game-winning field goals has no regrets about his time with the Ravens.
“I appreciated the opportunity that I had to play here,” Stover said. “It was a privilege to play. It was never something that I thought I deserved. I think with that mindset, it allowed me to step away from the game and say, ‘Hey, that was fun.’”
Listen to Matt Stover’s Ring of Honor press conference in Owings Mills right here.