There’s been plenty of talk about Joe Burrow ahead of the Super Bowl, but we’re not hearing a ton about Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matt Stafford, who has quietly become one of the league’s best quarterbacks. Even Burrow himself is talking about how Stafford should be getting more attention. “I always thought he didn’t get the credit he deserved,” Burrow said. This game is not only a big one for the Rams, it’s a big one for Stafford himself, who could push himself more firmly into the Hall of Fame conversation—which he arguably already deserves to be in—with a victory. This season in Los Angeles, his first after spending the rest of his career in Detroit, Stafford has completed 67.2% of his passes (tying his career-high from 2015 with the Lions) for 4,886 yards with 41 touchdowns (also a career-high—the last time he threw that many scoring passes was in 2011 with the Lions) and 17 interceptions. That brings him to a career completion percentage of 63% with nearly 50,000 passing yards and 323 touchdowns to 161 interceptions. After some lackluster seasons in Detroit, not everyone has an appreciation for how successful he actually was there despite not always being under the best set of circumstances, including a defense that was more often than not subpar. Let’s face it, the Lions had a winning record a grand total of four times in his stint there and the issues in those down seasons were far from only his fault. Stafford was far from a problem for Detroit, and you can take the 3-13 record the Lions finished at the bottom of the division with while former Rams quarterback Jared Goff was taking the snaps as all the evidence you need to prove that. They’re still very much a work in progress with several needs to address, which sounds like a broken record at this point considering the last time they finished with a winning record was in 2017, roughly half of a decade ago—they missed the playoffs at 9-7. And, if anything, Stafford was quite a bright spot if we’re looking at the history of the last 100 years of Lions football. Stafford led them to their only three postseason appearances since the turn of the millennium, even though they never made it past the wild-card round due to other shortcomings. With better surroundings in Los Angeles, it’s taken Stafford a mere one season to lead the Rams all the way to a Super Bowl, the first they’ve appeared in since 2018. Stafford is running the Sean McVay offense at a high level in a way others failed to, as Los Angeles has averaged 27.2 points per game between the regular season and the postseason. What do we glean from this? Sometimes, a change of scenery is all you need and can give someone the ability to shine through after being hushed by adversity—one player can’t carry a whole team alone or overcome every other existing issue, regardless of talent. We see that perfectly shown every year when messes of franchises throw the top quarterback in the draft to the wolves, and more often than not, have a bad season. It’s easy to get the sense that Stafford has already brought a Rams team that formerly had a quarterback issue to new heights and can continue to be a positive contributor in a way that could see him in Canton in the future.
- Sep 29, 2023
- Sep 18, 2023