Using History To Predict Rams, Stafford Accomplishments

Former Detroit Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford. Photo Credit: Mike Morbeck | Under Creative Commons License
Former Detroit Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford. Photo Credit: Mike Morbeck | Under Creative Commons License

For the first time since Jeff Fisher was the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, there is a new starting quarterback in town. Many have lauded the trade for Matthew Stafford as exactly what Sean McVay’s Rams have needed in order to get over the hurdle and win the Super Bowl. Many are already writing in the Rams to be in next year’s game with a sharpie after news of the trade. However, what does history say?

This will be a look at arguably some of the highest-profile quarterback team changes going back to Joe Montana and how they did in their first season with their new team. After a look at each quarterback, a percentage chance will be given to Stafford’s possible accomplishments in 2021 based on what the other quarterbacks were able to do in their first seasons. As a disclaimer, it should be noted that at this moment, Stafford is clearly a couple of steps behind these players so these odds for Stafford accomplishments should be seen as a ceiling, with the real odds expected to be somewhat lower.

Using History To Predict Stafford Accomplishments With Rams

Tom Brady — Tampa Bay Buccaneers

One cannot live in the United States and not know of Tom Brady. He has terrorized the league for two decades and is currently in his tenth Super Bowl. This tenth Super Bowl appearance comes in his first season after leaving the New England Patriots and after a slow start to a season where he was 3-2 after five games. Will he win the Super Bowl on Sunday?

Peyton Manning — Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning had two Super Bowl appearances and won one with the Indianapolis Colts. After a grisly neck injury knocked him out of the league for a year, the Colts decided to go with Andrew Luck via the draft. Manning went to the Denver Broncos. In his first season with the team, after a 2-3 start, the team ended up winning 11 games in a row and going to the playoffs. They ultimately lost in the divisional round to quarterback Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens in overtime.

Brett Favre — New York Jets

Most seem to remember that quarterback Brett Favre went directly to the Minnesota Vikings after his time in Green Bay. However, Favre made a pit stop in New York with the Jets before returning to the NFC North. In that season, the Jets went 9-7 after an 8-3 start, including a final 1-4 slide where they missed the playoffs.

Kurt Warner — New York Giants

Similar to Favre, many remember Kurt Warner going directly to the Arizona Cardinals after his time with the Rams. However, also like Favre, Warner also made a pit stop in New York, joining the New York Giants for a season. In his first and only season with the team, Warner went 5-4 before ultimately getting benched for an interesting young quarterback named Eli Manning. The Giants went on to make the playoffs where they ended up losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Joe Montana — Kansas City Chiefs

Unlike Favre and Warner, Joe Montana did not make any pit stops on his way to his next famous team. In his first season with the Kansas City Chiefs, Montana went 8-3 after a 3-1 start. Montana got injured in the playoffs but his backup was able to win a game. The next week, Montana was able to return to the field before getting ousted in the AFC championship by the Buffalo Bills.

Odds For Stafford Accomplishments With Rams

After a look at some of the most high-profile quarterback changes over the last 30 years, this data could be used to help show what the Rams are likely to do with Stafford now under center. 

Four of the five quarterbacks on this list finished their season as the starter. Therefore, the odds of Stafford doing the same sit at 80 percent based on history.

At the start of their second season, three of the five quarterbacks were still with their new team which means Stafford could be looking at a 60 percent chance of sticking around. 

Next, every single quarterback earned a positive record in their first season so the odds seem to be guaranteed that Stafford will do the same. 

Four of the five quarterbacks made the playoffs in their first season whether they finished the season or not. Therefore, Stafford is looking at an 80 percent chance of doing the same. 

Next up, two of the five quarterbacks made the championship game in their first season. Thus, Stafford is looking at a 40 percent chance. 

Penultimately, one of the five quarterbacks made the Super Bowl in their first season. As a result, Stafford is looking at a 20 percent chance of doing that as well. 

Lastly, none of the quarterbacks listed here have won the Super Bowl in their first season with their new team so far but that could change on Sunday.

Caveats And Predictions For Stafford Accomplishments

At the end of the day, there are expectations that can be gleaned from the past. Firstly, Stafford could start slow like Manning and Brady in their first quarter of the season. That said, he should start to take off in October. History says that he will be with the team in 2022, he’ll have a positive record, and he’ll make the playoffs. After that, the Rams have a chance to make the championship game. In fact, there is also technically a chance at the Super Bowl but after making the playoffs, the odds of continued winning drop quickly.

Once again, it is important to emphasize that Stafford has a long way to go to enter a level of parity with these other quarterbacks. Due to this reason, the odds shown here should be seen as the ceilings for Stafford, not guarantees. In reality, the odds are likely significantly lower for the veteran quarterback.

Also, there is a chance that there could be no preseason for 2021 due to covid protocols which could delay Stafford’s ability to get comfortable with the offense until well into the season. This could slow the Rams down for a bit. However, in 2022, all bets will be off and the Rams should realistically expect a Super Bowl appearance.

Former Detroit Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford. Photo Credit: Mike Morbeck

Former Detroit Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford. Photo Credit: Mike Morbeck | Under Creative Commons License