When Matthew Stafford played his final game with the Detroit Lions, I was there. It was during my first year with Woodward Sports. With the COVID-19 restrictions in place, I was unsure the Lions would let me in a game that season. Fast forward to the next season and there was another first. I was at SoFi Stadium when Stafford played his first game against the Lions as a member of the Rams. It was only a few months ago, and there I was watching “9” in the press box lead the Rams to victory.
Now here we are on February 13th, 2022. Super Bowl Sunday. And I am in the building for one more first: Matthew Stafford’s first Super Bowl win.
For the better part of his 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions, there was a monkey on Stafford’s back. There were questions by some parts of the Lions fan base on whether he was a Super Bowl winning quarterback. Heck, I have to admit that I was one of them. I’ve seen my fair share of moments that made me wonder what the hell he was doing on the field.
Then there were moments like the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LVI that the other part of the Lions fan base felt he had him. And that, too, is something I saw while he was a Lion––a man who could engineer a fourth quarter comeback.
Make no mistake about it. Cooper Kupp is the MVP of Super Bowl LVI, but Matthew Stafford is the reason they won that game. The Rams rushing attack was non-existent. It was anemic. It felt like every time the Rams ran the ball, they’d get snuffed out quickly! They had a grand total of 43 yards on the ground.
That ain’t nothing!
Stafford, however, did what had to do. Besides his two interceptions, one that was basically a punt, and the other bouncing off the hands of his wideout, he threw for 283 yards and three touchdowns.
That’s good enough to win you a Super Bowl, especially if your defense comes out to perform. Even Bengals wideouts smoking Jalen Ramsey like a box of Newport 100’s, they got to Joe Burrow. Seven sacks, with four of them coming from Aaron Donald and Von Miller.
It was the perfect recipe for Matthew Stafford to go out and do his thing.
With the biggest monkey of his career off his back, what’s next? After all, the narrative on him, by some, was that he wasn’t a good enough quarterback to lead a team to a Super Bowl. Now that he’s eliminated this, will fans see a man that’s playing with house money for the rest of his career? What will he accomplish next? Is he already thinking repeat?
Regardless of the facts, the only thing anyone can say about Matthew Stafford right now is that he’s a Super Bowl Champion. And to paraphrase my fellow Detroit Lions beat writer, Benjamin Raven via Nick Baumgardner, it only took one year.
Again, I have to be honest. I was critic. A hard one. I didn’t see it coming. Not because he didn’t have the talent. Matt Murdock (Daredevil if you’re not hip) could see he had the talent. However, until he got it done, I was not going to believe. Now here I am, typing this piece after watching it with my own eyes. I know as soon as I touch down in Detroit, a plate of crow will be waiting for me. And I’ll gladly eat it as long as there is some Frank’s Hot Sauce nearby.
One year away from the Detroit Lions and he became a champion. The next few weeks and months in Detroit sports media shall be very spicy.
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.