Want Matthew Stafford Gone? Be Careful What You Wish For, Lions Fans


Some Detroit Lions fans and sports talk show hosts want Matthew Stafford gone. Be careful what you wish for because he may not want to stay.

It’s perhaps no coincidence that the Detroit Lions‘ season went quickly downhill when Matthew Stafford hurt his middle finger in a late-season game against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field. The Lions were sitting pretty at 8-4, had won four straight games, and were coming off a road victory over the New Orleans Saints the week before.

The trip to the Bayou was clearly the Lions’ high-water mark of the season because they played their only complete game. They beat the Saints 28-13, dominating from start to finish in a game all the “experts” picked them to lose.  The Lions were in great shape to claim their first divisional title in 23 years, but we all know how that turned out.

Stafford was banged up in the first quarter and struggled the rest of the game. His late scramble TD gave the Lions’ their eighth (and final) comeback victory (and final victory) of the season to avoid a humiliating season sweep to the awful Bears.

Injury Leads To Downfall

More from Detroit Lions

It was clear the injury bothered him in every subsequent game. Prior to it, Stafford was a legitimate MVP candidate holding a 67.2 completion percentage with 21 touchdowns and five interceptions. He managed only a 60.2 completion percentage with three TDs and five INTs for the rest of the regular season.

The lack of a quality backup might have cost the Lions the division, but that’s hardly only a Lions’ problem. You saw what losing a starting quarterback in Derek Carr can do to good team in the Oakland Raiders. You also saw what one of the “better” backups in the league, Matt Moore, did to help the Miami Dolphins during wild-card weekend. Plainly put, there are no good backups in the NFL.

Without Stafford playing the best football of his career, the Lions were a bad team. With him at the top of his game, they were a playoff team. That’s the difference that he brought to this team. Let me write this plainly and simply, MATTHEW STAFFORD IS NOT THE PROBLEM.

Same Old Lions (Fans)

This is, however, apparently something some Lions’ fans don’t believe. Many of these fans are also Michigan football fans who think that Jake Rudock is the answer. You know Rudock, the one-and-done former Wolverine quarterback who spent much of the season on the taxi squad, and the rest being inactive. Someone who couldn’t even beat out the man with the best job in America, Dan Orlovsky, is the answer?

I recently had a Twitter conversation with someone who said the Lions should “cut” Stafford for cap reasons (even when the Lions are in a great cap situation currently), and start Rudock. And this was when Matthew Stafford was playing well.

Of course, Rudock could be the second-coming of fellow sixth-round draft pick, Tom Brady. In unrelated news, I could also be named Sexiest Man Alive.

Sports Talk Dumpster Fire

Aside from some fans that will never accept Matthew Stafford, the inane sports talk radio in this town will never stop scapegoating him.

I loved what my Detroit Jock City colleague, Erik Schlitt, said in response to this.

This describes most, not all, sports talk radio hosts. Many are extremely lazy and lack the skills to perform cutting-edge radio.

Why Would He Stay?

Here’s the thing–the Detroit Lions are not getting rid of Matthew Stafford. There’s no chance of that happening. But there IS a chance that Matthew Stafford will get rid of the Detroit Lions. In the last year of his contract in 2017, there have been no talks about an extension .

When you look at it from his standpoint, why would you want to stay? If it’s financial, it’s negligible. Matthew Stafford will be paid handsomely whether he’s in Detroit, Arizona, Cleveland, Chicago, or anywhere else that needs a quarterback in 2018 and beyond.

Here in Detroit, fans question his toughness, dedication, and argue with his wife on social media. Certainly, he’ll get that anywhere, because wherever you go there are keyboard warriors in the fan base. Nonetheless, there’s always something that can be said about a fresh start.

Related Story: Highlights of Bob Quinn's End of Season Press Conference

For his part, he doesn’t get involved in the negativity that’s rampant on social media. So he’s able to detach himself from it.

Big-name NFL players like Matthew Stafford rarely change teams during the prime of their careers, but here in Detroit, we know it happens (paging Ndamukong Suh). Odds are high that he’ll be a Detroit Lion in 2018 and beyond, but given the environment of a vocal minority, if you were Stafford, wouldn’t you want to try something different?