Photograph: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
14. Matthew Stafford (quarterback) – Welcome to the countdown, your first Detroit Lions quarterback (at least one who actually suited up for the franchise). In fact, he currently suits up for the Lions (like it or not). Welcome fan (polarizing) favorite, quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Matthew Stafford is a player fans love, or love to hate. But regardless of your opinion of him, Stafford has accomplished more as quarterback than most Lions quarterbacks ever. And at 27 years old, he still has (presumably) a big chunk of his career ahead of him.
The Lions selected Stafford with the 1st overall pick of the 2009 NFL draft. The Lions were coming off of their infamous winless 2008 season, and needed a franchise quarterback to alter their future.
Stafford had his first two seasons as a Lion cut short by injury, and many skeptics were ready to label him an injury prone bust. Since that time, Stafford has proven to be a building block of the franchise. Local and national media still debate whether Stafford is a franchise quarterback, but his resume says he’s more than capable.
In his four (full) seasons as the Lions starting quarterback, Stafford has never thrown for less than 4,000 yards in a season. He has also led the Lions to two playoff appearances.
He is one of only five quarterbacks to throw for 5,000 yards in a season, and he reached 25,000 career passing yards faster than anyone in NFL history.
Stafford is far from perfect. His accuracy is inconsistent, his decision making isn’t always stellar, and he has yet to lead the Lions to playoff success (or a win). Regardless, he’s the best quarterback the Lions have had since Bobby Layne, and a future that is (possibly) bright.
Next: Number 13