"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."
Just ask Steve Hauschka and Graham Gano, who were heavily scrutinized after the Ravens opted against bringing back Stover before the 2009 season and who couldn’t handle the pressure that came with replacing Stover, still alive and kicking.
The dependable veteran almost always delivered whenever the Ravens called on him, and the fans loved him for it. In most cities, there is a revolving door when it comes to kickers. But Stover was a constant in Baltimore for 13 seasons, booting clutch field goals and pointing to the heavens after each and every one of them.
He made 471 of his 563 career field-goal tries -- that includes his awkward stint kicking for the Colts in 2009 -- and missed only one extra point in his entire career (in 1992 when the Ravens were the Browns). Stover ranks fourth all-time with 2,004 points and his 83.7 percent accuracy rate is seventh. That’s why his nicknames were “Mr. Automatic” and “Money Matt” and his immediate successor was dubbed “Shankopotamus” after a few games.
The Ravens have finally found a long-term replacement in Billy Cundiff, who signed a five-year contract extension this offseason. But it could take years -- or maybe just one magical playoff run -- for the Pro Bowler to boot his way into Baltimore’s heart like Stover did.
Like Lewis said, “Stover is always going to be there.”