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Matthew Stafford Deserves More Respect And Here Is Why

While the Rams and their fan base enjoy the offseason as Super Bowl Champions (aka Football Heaven), the NFL world is bustling with trades, meltdowns, and loads of drama. As a Rams fan myself, I have never felt so calm and content while waiting for a new season to start. If anything, I want to savor the moment for as long as possible. It is a unique experience watching the rest of the league connect the dots and search for their missing puzzle piece, all the while knowing the Rams found theirs last year, Matthew Stafford.

We are only a year removed from the blockbuster deal between the Los Angeles Rams and the Detroit Lions. A deal that split the NFL fanbase into two piles: the believers and the non-believers. Put simply, some viewed Matthew Stafford as an upgrade, and others did not. The media world (and Twitter) exploded with opinions and arguments in favor of both sides of the coin. Each group had compelling arguments, but at the time, there was not a lot of evidence to support well-rounded discourse.

Believers saw the arm strength, toughness, and in-the-moment intelligence that Stafford possesses. Non-believers mentioned the interceptions, stat-padding, and losing records. Again, all of these things can be argued for and against, but in January 2021, there was nothing to compare the twelve years in Detroit to. Rams fans were eager to see what Stafford could do on an objectively good team. Believers were able to view the Detroit era through a lens. Non-believers wanted to bring the past into the present.

Here we are now, in March 2022, and Matthew Stafford is a Super Bowl Champion. One year after the massive trade, Stafford delivered. I believe the arguments made before the 2021 season, and the arguments made throughout it, now have proper context. Comparing evidence from one season against twelve seasons may still be silly, but at least it is something.

I believe that the issues Stafford had in Detroit were real and worth discussing, but only within context. The losing records in Detroit should not be placed solely on his shoulders. That franchise is known to struggle with roster-building and coaching. No NFL fan is surprised when the Lions only win a handful of games each year. Additionally, Stafford is not out there playing every position. When we look at what he did in one year on the Rams, those points only strengthen. The Rams went 12-5 in the 2021 regular season and 4-0 in the playoffs.

When it comes to the interceptions, things get a bit cloudier. Some can argue that the losses the Rams suffered came primarily from costly interceptions. However, every quarterback in the league, not named Aaron Rodgers, is prone to throwing interceptions here and there. It is worth noting, Stafford usually rallied from behind and moved past turnovers when it mattered the most. Some quarterbacks are unable to pull themselves out of mid-game slumps. Rams fans do not need to think back too far to know what that feels like.

We can find solace in the fact that Stafford was going to put mistakes behind him in the moment. Super Bowl 56 is a perfect example. Stafford threw two interceptions and the start of the third quarter looked incredibly bleak for the Rams. Stafford remained poised and delivered when he absolutely needed to. He overcame mistakes and led his team to a Super Bowl championship.

Stafford and the stats he earned up in Detroit were also critiqued at the height of the trade hype. Non-believers refused to take the stats seriously, claiming the yards, receptions, and touchdowns were a product of always being behind in games. The stats were only earned via “garbage time” many claimed. While there may be truth to this, Stafford put up incredible stats with the LA Rams (who often led throughout games). In the regular season alone, Stafford threw for 4,886 yards and 41 touchdowns. In the postseason he threw for 1,188 yards and 9 touchdowns.

He also was the individual that delivered the passes to Cooper Kupp, the triple crown winning, Offensive Player of the Year winning, Super Bowl MVP winning wide receiver. His stats are now cast in a more realistic light after performing so well on a complete and winning team.

This short piece is my way of expressing why I feel Matthew Stafford deserves more respect. We now have a wider lens and more evidence that highlight his high level of play. He came to a new team and brought a Super Bowl championship to Los Angeles in a single season. What he did was historic, and I can only hope that as more seasons go by, the present can overshadow the past. Super Bowl champion Matthew Stafford deserves more love, and here is to hoping that he gets it.

Los Angeles Rams Quarterback Matthew Stafford With Teammates At Super Bowl LVI. Photo Credit: Los Angeles Rams 2022

Los Angeles Rams Quarterback Matthew Stafford With Teammates At Super Bowl LVI. Photo Credit: Los Angeles Rams 2022

Tyler Gelrud

Author Tyler Gelrud

Tyler Gelrud is an Orange County native now residing in the Bay Area. Tyler covers the Los Angeles Rams for the LAFB.

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