The Big Board: Stover Shout-Out


To comment on this blog, click here.

I don't normally get random FedEx packages in the mail. So, it was a pleasant surprise when there was a delivery waiting on my desk when I walked in this morning.

The return address said ESPN. "Cool," I thought. Nice way to start a day.

Anyway, it ended up being a gift from the venerable Sal Paolantonio, NFL correspondent for The Worldwide Leader. "Sal Pal" had recently written a book appropriately titles The Paolantonio Report: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players, Teams, Coaches and Moments in NFL History.

He even signed the inside cover for me. "Really cool," I thought.

The reason he sent it to me began two weekends ago, when Paolantonio was at Ravens headquarters reporting live for the draft. Sal brought a few copies for members of our public relations staff, and we began chatting about some of his arguments in the book.

He makes some pretty bold claims - like the 1985 Bears were overrated for a Super Bowl winner, or that Terrell Owens is an overrated receiver - but there is one that particularly stuck out to me as I flipped through the 271 pages.

In the "specialists" section, Paolantonio calls Matt Stover the most *underrated *kicker in league history.

He cites a kicker's ability to consistently convert outdoor attempts, and Stover is one of the best.

Over his 18-year kicking career, he's played for the Browns and the Ravens, both with stadiums exposed to the elements.

"He's never played a home game in a dome or even in a warm-weather city," Paolantonio wrote. "Yet through 2006, he has made 85.1 percent of his outdoor field goals, the highest percentage in NFL history."

Actually, Stover's percentage is even more eye-opening, because he has kicked 483 outdoor field goals since he entered the league in 1991, making 411 of them. The next-best on Paolantonio's list?

Mike Vandejagt, who is 101-of-119 (84.9 percent).

Stover is the only Ravens representative in Sal's book, but there are still many other interesting stats, observations and stories that are definitely worth reading.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content