10-10 game. 4th down. 57 seconds left in the 4th quarter. AFC championship game berth on the line. From 43 yards out. Who do you want kicking? Steve Hauschka? Graham Gano?
You want Matt Stover. Sure, his range may be limited but I want the most accurate kicker in the NFL on my side. At a spry 41 years old, the Ravens most trusted offensive weapon in team history deserves to kick again. He earned it last January when he nailed the 43-yarder to seal it against the Titans.
Some cite his weakening leg and increased unreliability for reasons why the Ravens should move on. I cite the game-winning field goals and the ability to come into the most tense situation without crumbling under the pressure for reasons why he should kick for the Ravens. In a recent Baltimore Sun article, Mike Preston explains Stover's primary problem is that he has been too good for too long.
It's hard for me to doubt Ozzie Newsome's decision making, as he is the sole reason for why this team is able to reach such great heights. I don't know for sure if he made the decision to let Stover go but whoever did should come forward and fully explain why the Ravens are putting their money on the unproven youngsters, Graham Gano and Steve Hauschka. It's possible that one of those two can help the Ravens make a Super Bowl run. However, I would prefer that the Ravens re-sign Stover to kick field goals under 45 yards and keep one of the two young kickers on the roster to kick field goals over 45 and man the kickoff duties.
The Stover question is as easy to solve as the phrase which best summarizes the situation. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
So let me ask again. 4th Quarter. Season on the line. A chance to play for a spot in the Super Bowl. Who do you want kicking? I want Matt Stover. Do you?