After kicking for the offensively-challenged Ravens for 13 years, Matt Stover was used to coming out and finishing stalled drives with field goal attempts. Now that he's with the Colts, he's more likely to trot out for an extra point.
“The first game I played for the Colts was against the Rams and we had six touchdowns," he said. "I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ This never happens."
Still, even with the potent Colts offense setting him up, Stover knows that sometimes games come down to a point or two, especially in the playoffs. Especially in the Super Bowl.
"Every point matters," he said. "There’s been like three or four games this year where every point matters. Tight games I realize that the kicking position is a point maker. Think about it, the best of the best in this game is now here. The number one seed of both conferences are here. You know darn well every point is going to matter so that’s how you’ve got to approach this game.”
Stover left the Ravens after his contract expired last spring. The Jets made him an offer, but he decided not to accept it. In October he had a tryout with the Giants, who did not make him an offer. But the Colts, who had Adam Vinatieri undergo surgery that same week, did.
Now, after 19 NFL seasons, he's in his second and most likely final Super Bowl. His last one, a 34-7 win over the Giants, didn't come down to a pressure kick. But Stover tried to explain what the pressure on a kicker can feel like.
“If you’ve ever had a 10-foot putt for 100 dollars with a close friend, multiply that by 1000 and that’s what it’s like," he said. "Focus on what you have to do and do it a lot, like the pros in golf. I’ve been in that situation before, not at the Super Bowl, but other venues. You just get out there and kick it like you always do, practice and confidence in what you do.”
Do kickers feel the pressure?
“If you don’t, then you shouldn’t go out there on the field," he said. "It’s the environment that you have to realize, as a kicker the game can change. With these two teams you likely will. This will be a tight game. You have to envision that’s going to happen. If you ever go out there saying, I hope we beat them 52-6 or we beat them by two or three touchdowns, then you might not be ready for them.”