Is Stover Hall of Fame worthy?

On Thursday, the Ravens announced that Matt Stover will be inducted into their Ring of Honor during a game this November.

That is, of course, if we have games at all.

While Stover’s place among the Ravens’ All-Time greats cannot be questioned, his place among the NFL’s All-Time greats very much can, and it likely will be debated five years from now when Stover is eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

That’s a topic which was discussed multiple times throughout Stover’s retirement press conference, both by the longtime kicker and by the members of the Ravens’ brass who were seated next to him.

As I’ve written previously, Stover finished his career with the fourth-most career points (2,004) and seventh-best field goal percentage (83.7) in NFL history. But general manager Ozzie Newsome says he believes Stover’s resume is strong enough for enshrinement not just in the statistical categories, but in a few others, as well.

“I’ve looked at it (as a matter of) four reasons,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said. “Did they play with longevity? He’s got 20 years. Did he play with a winner? He was in two Super Bowls and he won one. Was he accomplished? He’s got a lot of records. And the other thing that you look at - most of the guys, they were very, very involved in their community, and so was Matt. When you look at those four things, those are the criteria that I think most of the guys get in on. Matt measures up to all four of them.

“When that opportunity comes, hopefully whoever is the lead guy for Baltimore is able to bring those things to the table, and hopefully, he’ll get a chance to get acknowledged.”

One of the main impediments to Stover’s potential Hall of Fame induction is that only one “pure” placekicker - meaning one that didn’t play another position, as well - is currently enshrined in Canton, OH. It might be tough for Stover to overcome the notion held by many that special teamers don’t belong in the Hall of Fame, allowing him to join former Chiefs kicker Jan Stenerud in the Hall.

“I think Matt will lead the charge,” said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, a longtime special teams coach before coming to Baltimore. “You look at the Sean Landeta’s and the Brian Mitchell’s ... I mean, these are guys that should be in the Hall of Fame. It’s part of the game. It wins and loses football games for us. When Matt walks on the field, the game is on the line - you either win or you lose. That’s a huge part of the game, and I don’t know how that wouldn’t be honored and recognized in the Hall of Fame.”

Asked whether he feels he’s deserving of a bust in Canton, Stover took the high road, which is in no way surprising.

“If I played this game for the honors and for the rewards, I don’t think the points and the everything would have come like it did, because that’s not why you play,” Stover said. “If it ends up being that way, great. That’s how I feel about it.”

What’s your take - are kickers worthy of enshrinement in the Hall of Fame, and if so, do you think Stover has the credentials to make it there?

blog comments powered by Disqus