When the Indianapolis Colts went out and grabbed Adam Vinatieri after the 2005 season, the motivation, in all likelihood, was rooted in the kicker's history with respect to the so-called "big-game." As of Sunday, Vinatieri will have been involved in six Super Bowls, a winner of at least four; but, unlike his past appearances, the pedigreed Vinatieri will be watching the game from the bench.
The Colts decided some time ago to give the start to Matt Stover, the 42-year-old Lake Highlands native who replaced Vinatieri in October, when the starter with a nagging knee injury. While the decision is surprising, given Vinatieri's generally accepted status as clutch-est kicker in recent memory, Stover isn't exactly wet behind the ears. He started for the 2000 Ravens team that took home the Lombardi and was on the Giants' practice squad for the 1990 season, which ended with a victory in Super Bowl XXV.
Stover owns the record for most consecutive games with a field goal (38) and is fifth on the all-time points list. On Sunday, at 42, he will become the oldest player to appear in the Super Bowl. But the former Lake Highlands Wildcat still has Dallas in his heart.
"One of my dreams has always been to be a Dallas Cowboy," Stover said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I was a Punt, Pass & Kick champion in 1979. I was out there in my Dallas Cowboy uniform punting, passing and kicking during the halftime show. And I was a Dallas Cowboy in the YMCA growing up. So it's always been a dream of mine, but through 20 years of playing in the NFL, I've never had an opportunity."
Given the Cowboys kicking struggles of late, and that Stover will be a free agent after the season, one can't help but wonder if this dream might become a reality. Well, not so fast; Stover has yet to give any thought to his future beyond the Super Bowl on Sunday.
"When you've played as long as I have, it's one game at a time, and one year at a time," Stover said. "You really don't take it more than that. The reason is because you just don't know."