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Matt Stover Cheers On Justin Tucker's Streak


The Ravens' past and present sat at a table together chowing on dinner last Monday. Matt Stover and Justin Tucker teamed up to help the Casey Cares Foundation on Dec. 9 at Hard Rock Café Baltimore.

And of course, the streak came up.

Stover holds the Ravens' longest consecutive field goals streak. He hit 36 straight, spanning from Week 9 of 2005 to Week 10 of 2006.

Tucker is hot on his heels. He's seen the referees' hands go up on a staggering 33 straight field goals.

Judging from his recent onslaught of opportunities, he could have a shot to break Stover's record this Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. Count Stover among those cheering him on.

"I encouraged him to do it," Stover said. "I looked at him like, 'Why not you? Why not? Be the guy. It's alright.'"

At the pace Tucker is on recently, he could have a shot at the all-time NFL record. He's currently fourth. Former Indianapolis Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt hit 42 straight from 2002 to 2004.

As Tucker gets closer to Stover and Vanderjagt's records, the attention around it will increase – especially if he keeps doing it with game-winning field goals.

Tucker is no mouse in the spotlight, as evidenced by his classic interviews following his 61-yard kick in Detroit. His phone was dead when he returned to the locker room in Detroit because it was flooded with so many text messages and emails.

He's had players on other teams saying they wanted to buy him gifts and New York Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan complaining that it felt like Tucker kicked him in the head (he eliminated their playoff chances).

It doesn't affect Tucker. He has always been one to relish the spotlight.

"It's a little crazy," Tucker said of the attention. "I'm talking a lot to you guys. It's been fun."

But Tucker's mostly eschewed questions about his streak and his teammates have treated it like a pitcher going for a no hitter. They don't bring it up.

Stover has some advice for Tucker on how to handle it. Be yourself.

"Streaks are streaks," Stover said. "That just means you perform well. Wouldn't you rather be talking about a streak than not? Embrace it. You know it's there.

"Really, it's just about kicking the ball straight. It's not about thinking about the situations or the streaks. It's just kicking the ball the same way. Knowing Justin, it's not about what has happened, but what's going to happen."

Tucker is also set to surpass a couple of Stover's other records. He has already tied Stover's franchise mark of 35 field goals made in a single season (Stover did it in 2000). Tucker needs just six points to set a Ravens single-season scoring record (135 points).

Tucker set the goal of not missing a single kick this preseason, which seemed incredibly lofty. He's been pretty close. He missed two attempts – a 44-yarder and 50-yarder – in Week 2 against Cleveland. He hasn't missed since.

Stover remembers the kick when his 36-kick streak was broken like it was yesterday.

"It was a 42-yarder, right hash, missed left," he said. "I remember how it felt. As soon as it left my foot, I said, 'Ah, shoot.'"

Tucker is hoping to avoid any such moments. After Monday's kick, he said, "The best part of it is that I didn't have to come back to the sideline feeling like a jerk if I missed it."

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