Justin Tucker is a fan favorite here in Baltimore. And why shouldn't he be? He's one of the best kickers in the NFL, he's been clutch when the Ravens have needed him to win games, and his electrifying personality makes it easy for fans to love him on and off the field. But if it weren't for the struggles of Steven Hauschka in 2009, the Ravens might not have Tucker or the Lombardi that he helped us win.
Steven Hauschka was claimed off of waivers by the Ravens in 2008 and he was mainly used to handle kickoffs and long field goals. The Ravens made him their primary kicker in 2009, after Matt Stover headed off to Indianapolis. Hauschka was released on November 17th, 2009, after he missed his fourth field goal of the season. Hauschka would spend the 2010 season trying to get a job with the Falcons, Lions, Las Vegas Locomotives of the now-defunct UFL, and the Broncos. Haushka would get claimed off of waivers by the Seahawks in 2011 and he's been playing for the Seahawks ever since.
The Ravens would replace Haushcka with He-Who-We-Do-Not-Name until his costly missed field goal during the 2011 AFC Championship. The Ravens would bring in undrafted free agent Justin Tucker as competition during the 2012 preseason and Tucker won the job handily. Tucker would prove to be a clutch kicker during his rookie year, making some notable game-winning field goals against New England in Week Three and Denver during the AFC Divisional Game. Justin Tucker was a major part of the Ravens Super Bowl victory in 2012 and the Ravens might not have won without him.
Steven Hauschka wasn't very successful in Baltimore, but his failure set the path for the Ravens to acquire their next great kicker in Justin Tucker. It's a hypothetical exercise for sure, but it's certainly worth thinking about as the two kickers will meet each other on Sunday.