Matthew Stafford’s Journey to Super Bowl LVI
In the year 2008, the Detroit Lions became the first team in NFL history to have an 0-16 record. The historically bad season resulted in the Lions receiving the first overall pick in that year’s draft, selecting star Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford.
In his first 12 NFL seasons, Stafford was faced with the task of uplifting one of the most hopeless franchises in the NFL.
The Lions have not won a playoff game since 1992. Stafford was able to lead Detroit to the playoffs three times over his 12 years there.
While that might sound slim, Stafford and an almost always lackluster Lions roster were in a division with consistent Vikings teams, some great Bears defenses and most importantly Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers and the Packers dominated the NFC North for almost all of Stafford’s time in Detroit, thanks to a well run franchise and strong rosters. Not once did Stafford win a NFC North title with the Lions.
However, Matthew Stafford had his moments in the motor city that made Lions fans adore him.
For one, he quarterbacked one of the most impressive receiving seasons of all time when Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s single season receiving yards record in 2012.
He also had valiant playoff performances. In two of the three playoff games Stafford played in with the Lions, his passer rating was above 87 and he threw for over 320 yards.
In two of the three playoff games, and arguably all three, Detroit’s losses can mostly be blamed on their poor defense giving up 45, 24 and 26 points in those contests. In the loss where Detroit gave up 24 points, the Dallas Cowboys scored 17 unanswered to win the game 24-20.
Stafford had his fun moments in Detroit, slinging the ball to guys like Megatron and Golden Tate, but in late January of 2021, the Lions decided it was best for themselves and Stafford to part ways via a trade to Los Angeles.
To say Matthew Stafford has not basked in the sunlit opportunity to play on a stacked Rams roster this season would be a massive understatement.
At times this season, Stafford looked like an MVP candidate and for the second time in his career, he quarterbacked one of the most historic seasons for a wide receiver in NFL history.
He led the Rams to the NFC West title in a division that featured two other playoff teams going 12-5 in the process.
Then came the postseason. Stafford had never won a playoff game before this year, but he and the Rams had no problem dismantling the Cardinals on Super Wild Card weekend, winning the game 34-11.
Next came possibly the best moment of Stafford’s career. After being up big in the divisional round in Tampa Bay, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers stormed back to tie the game with less than a minute remaining.
Playing against the GOAT with time running out, Stafford made the best throw of his career finding his man Cooper Kupp over the top for a 44-yard gain.
This set up Matt Gay to kick the game winning field goal that sent Stafford and the Rams to the NFC championship game.
There, Los Angeles had to deal with a tough San Francisco 49ers defense that resulted in the Rams needing a come from behind victory to win. Stafford linked up with his man Kupp again and got Gay in the position to kick a pair of field goals to put the Rams up 20-17.
A Rams interception sealed the deal and now has Stafford and company set for a matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl.
Matthew Stafford has come a long way and battled through a ton of adversity throughout his career. A win in the big game would cap an incredible journey and mark him as a champion forever.
Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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Second Year / Broadcast Journalism