Days Until Super Bowl LIII From December 23: 42
Most NFL players have been retired for at least a decade by the time they reach their 42nd birthday, but placekicker Matt Stover spent his preparing for the Super Bowl. After a 17-year career with the Baltimore Ravens, he was cut ahead of the 2009 season and found himself without a team. The Indianapolis Colts came knocking halfway through the season following an injury to Adam Vinatieri, and he helped them to a 14-2 record.
The Colts faced the Ravens in the divisional game and Stover kicked two field goals en route to a 20-3 victory over his former employers. Indianapolis then edged the Jets in a tight AFC Championship game to surge into the Super Bowl. Three days later Stover celebrated his birthday and he was 42 years and 11 days old by the day of the big game, making him the oldest player in Super Bowl history.
However, Stover could not add to the two Super Bowl victories he secured during his time at Baltimore. The Colts went into the game as 5-point favorites, but the New Orleans Saints blew them away thanks to a masterful performance from Drew Brees. Stover kicked a field goal and two extra points, but it was not enough to prevent a 31-17 defeat.
In May 2011, Stover finally announced his retirement aged 43 at a news conference at the Ravens’ training complex. At the time, he was the last member of the original Cleveland Browns team still active in the NFL and the only survivor from the franchise’s move to Baltimore. “Matt has been one of the most reliable Baltimore Ravens we’ve had in this franchise,’ said general manager Ozzie Newsome.
He was the fourth highest scorer in NFL history and he earned a Pro Bowl selection alongside his two Super Bowl wins. He connected on 471 out of 563 field goal attempts, and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti was keen to hail his performance in 2000, the year the Ravens won their first Super Bowl. He scored all of their points during a five game stretch without a touchdown that year and Bisciotti said: “We don’t win that Super Bowl that year without Matt. We’re allowed a little hero-worship in Baltimore with our kicker.’