It’s finally done: After 13 years in the NFL, Matthew Stafford has won his first playoff game. The quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams previously dominated the headlines, after years of sadness in Detroit and a mixed regular season there were a number of doubts about his postseason suitability. These will now be cleared for a few days, but Stafford himself knows that this can only be the beginning!
Matthew Stafford makes late NFL history
Matthew Stafford’s legacy in the NFL has gotten a little richer as of this week. No quarterback in league history had to wait as long as he did for his first postseason win. Stafford led his teams as starters 185 times before he was finally able to pull off that feat. Of course it’s not just his success, his Los Angeles Rams dominated the Arizona Cardinals using all the rules of the art, not least with their NFL-wide feared defensive line and a newfound enthusiasm within their SoFi Stadium. But in the end, somehow all the storylines of this Hollywood flick converge on exactly one person and his name is Matthew Stafford.
On the one hand, this is due to the fact that the quarterback, of course, is of exorbitant importance in the NFL, the player who lives so close to and is decisive for the heartbeat of his respective team. It’s also because next week’s Rams will face a certain Tom Brady, who, history may have taught us a little, has to be met with a potent passer if you don’t want to be on his long list recover from victims. Ultimately, the Los Angeles Rams’ 2021 season was somehow always about Matthew Stafford, what he can do, what he can’t do, what he did and what he didn’t do.
Finally a postseason success after a dreary few years in Detroit
With the commitment of the former Detroit Lions hope, the LA Rams made it clear that he should fill this role and much more beyond that in Los Angeles. On the plane shortly after the trade, the 2011 NFL Comeback Player Of The Year not only had his clothes and his family, he also had the burden of those difficult years in the Motor City in his suitcase. It all started so well, the athletic fairy tale seemed perfect for the likeable University of Georgia signal caller, who had been on a lifelong path to NFL glory. He could do anything First Overall Pick, as a young man with an arm of gold whose wide passes spiraled so tight they could seemingly carry his teams to the moon.
After 13 seasons, 182 regular season starts, nearly 50,000 passing yards, and over 320 touchdowns, Matthew Stafford has his first playoff victory. pic.twitter.com/7G0NvsiEVB
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) January 18, 2022
In the end, however, those astronomical hopes remained unfulfilled, and the Lions remained the Lions no matter what Matthew Stafford tried. Whether he and his congenial partner Calvin Johnson had enough help or not, it doesn’t matter in the end, nobody cares anymore. He was the quarterback, he was the hope, the messiah. In the end, despite all the outstanding statistics, he is also responsible for what is on his team’s balance sheet, no matter how unfair it may seem at times. It would be the same in Los Angeles, Matthew Stafford felt that early in the regular season. A terrific start was followed by mixed weeks, Stafford’s own game seeming to ebb and flow like the tides of the Pacific, passing from one pass to the next looking at times like the league’s best passer or a hopeless backup.
Can the Rams hit the big time with Matthew Stafford?
His team, which is dominant in many areas, caught many a wave from the 33-year-old, and he thanked him with a good performance against Arizona. But he thanked us with even more, because as the heart of his team, he is also responsible for more than just the short screen and the deep go route. He sets the pace, he believes, he leads. Just like the defeats in Detroit, this victory is also his very personal victory. A victory that, if we want to talk about a real legacy, must not be the last. The story of Matthew Stafford is now enriched by a forgiving chapter, but his NFL biography is far from becoming a bestseller.
As nice as the success was for him, the Rams, the fans and everyone involved, it will soon fade if more don’t follow. The reality of American sports only thinks briefly in individual games, in the long run championships are what count most. Especially for the big players, the franchise guys, the all stars. And of course for the quarterbacks, where Matthew Stafford now has a great opportunity to play for a title and reach out for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. That grip and where it ends, it will be the one that actually decides about his “legacy”…