Super Bowl LVI Win Sharpens Matthew Stafford’s Hall of Fame Chances

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Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford
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I know you probably read the headline and already took to Twitter to mock me for my recency bias, but I don’t think it’s that far-fetched anymore. Stafford has always been one of the most statistically gifted quarterbacks in the NFL. However, the blow to him was always his inability to win. Now, in his first year away from Detroit, he wins a Super Bowl. That confirms the rest of his career.

Yes, he has a career loss record (86-95-1), but there’s been a huge push recently to stop calling wins and losses a quarterback stat. If people really believe that, and trust me, a lot of people believe that, how can Stafford be skipped? The man is the fastest quarterback to ever reach 20,000 passing yards. He is the fastest to ever reach 30,000 meters, and wouldn’t you know that? He is the fastest to ever reach 40,000 meters. In fact, Stafford needs just five extra yards in a regular season game to reach 50,000 career yards. Yes, he will also be the fastest ever to do that, after 183 games.

Sure, a lot of those yards came because he lagged so much in games, but he’s also one of the best ever at collecting those late-game yards to help his team come back to win games. Since he entered the league, no quarterback has had more fourth-quarter comebacks than Stafford. And he led the league in that category in 2014 and 2016. He led the league three times in game-winning drives: 2014, 2016, 2017. For all the talk about Tom Brady’s clutch factor, that’s a big reason why he’s the best quarterback in the world. always Stafford is often overlooked for being on one of the worst teams in the NFL. Only this postseason, Stafford had three game-winning drives. He had two comebacks in the fourth quarter, beating Tom Brady. Yes, it’s only one postseason, but it’s also his first year in a capable system. Give the man a break!

Let’s compare Stafford’s career with some Canton quarterbacks who have never won a Super Bowl. I’m talking about Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, Philip Rivers (probably) and Jim Kelly.

Of this five men, Stafford is second in completion percentage, first in yards per game, first in touchdowns per game, and tied for first in interceptions per game. He leads everyone bagged by game. He leads everyone in career-rushing yards and rushing touchdowns (I know that doesn’t matter, but it’s still fun), and most importantly, he has a Super Bowl ring. No one else on that list has one.

These are all Hall of Famers, or soon Hall of Famers (yes, Rivers is a Hall of Famer; fight me), and statistically, Stafford surpasses them all. As long as he can play for a few more years, he’ll probably pass them all in career fields and touchdowns as well. He is already second in career yards and third in career touchdowns against everyone on this list. The only stat in which Stafford falls behind is wins.

Are we really going to ban a man who was in a miserable situation for over a decade from the Hall of Fame because he was inducted there? That doesn’t seem right. Of course, he could have refused to re-sign with the Lions or forced himself out of Detroit, but it’s arguable that Stafford’s resilience and willingness to stay in Detroit through thick and thin, even as the Lions’ ineptitude as an organization are ruined. is. his career reputation, is more admirable — or dare I say Hall of Fame-worthy — than making your way to a good position and making it to the playoffs time and again.

Keep in mind that with Sunday’s Super Bowl win, Stafford officially has a better post-season win rate (.571) than Aaron Rodgers (.524) and as many rings. I’m not saying Stafford is better than Rodgers because that would be ridiculous. But his career accolades match some of the best ever in so many ways. The only, and I mean ONLY, that holding Stafford back is the regular season win percentage.

But even that poor track record of his can be viewed somewhat positively if you squint and tilt your head. Since 2009, the Lions have the fourth worst win rate in the NFL (.397). Only Jacksonville, Cleveland and Washington have worse records. From 2000 to 2008, however, the Lions had the worst win rate in the NFL (.278) — nearly 80 points lower than the next team: the Houston Texans (.357), and they were an expansion franchise that decade. Stafford pulled that team out of the gutter and took that pathetic franchise to the playoffs in just his third year, while recovering from a shoulder injury that forced him 13 games the year before. Stafford is tougher than a $2 steak.

Stafford was always one of the most gifted quarterbacks in the league, and although he was never elite, he was always consistent. That’s the same argument every Rivers fan makes for their Hall-of-Fame case. Well, guess what? Stafford has 38 games in his hands at Rivers and I can almost guarantee he will pass Rivers in almost every category in that time. Even then, Stafford still has a few good seasons in his tank.

Stafford is a great talent, a great story, and now he is a champion. And no one can take that away from him, no matter how many times they call his career win-loss record. So enjoy your victory round, Mr. Stafford. You deserve to prove all your haters wrong.

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