Photo Credit: USA Today
This past Sunday saw Matthew Stafford finally win his first super bowl. After years of being stuck on mediocre teams with the Detroit Lions, Stafford signed with a solid cast around him in Los Angeles. Matthew Stafford finished a 4-0 playoff run with the Rams after an 0-3 playoff career in Detroit. Now with a Super Bowl ring in his pocket, the debate will rage on if Matthew Stafford belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Matthew Stafford finished the 2021 playoff run with 9 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. It culminated with a game-winning drive in Super Bowl LVI against the tough Cincinnati Bengals team. With the 23-20 victory, Matthew Stafford finally has the one accolade on his resume that many thought he'd never get. The former overall number one pick in 2009 had done a lot in this league. Touchdowns, passing yards, completions and come back wins were a staple in Matthew Stafford's career. However, Stafford wasn’t winning in Detroit and while he had the numbers he just didn't have the hardware to go with it. Recently, former CB Richard Sherman questioned the criteria to be a Hall of Famer if Stafford is automatically put in. But now a Super Bowl victory gets him closer than he might have ever been..
Photo Credit: Oakland Press
Stafford's career numbers so far at age 34 are impressive. Ranking in the top 20 for all-time in pass attempts, completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns, Stafford is third in all-time passing yards per game and the fastest NFL player to reach 40,000 passing yards. Stafford, if he retired today, ranks as No. 12 all-time with 49,995 passing yards, 12th all-time in passing touchdowns and 11th in pass completions. However, one stat that I feel isn’t a real stat to attach to QBs, is his W-L record. According to Stat Muse, Matthew Stafford has a career win-loss record of 86-95-1. Now if he keeps playing with the Rams, he should finish above .500 and this will kill any argument.
I personally hate attaching a win-loss record on quarterbacks like they are pitchers. I understand their impact on the game is huge, but I just don’t feel it’s comparable. A quarterback can hand it off all game or only throw the ball 3 times in a game like Mac Jones and walk away with a win. A dominant defense like the 2001 Ravens or 1986 Bears can literally carry your football team to victory. But this is another debate for another day.
But the easy comparison to Stafford is Eli Manning. Eli Manning has 2 Super Bowl wins with 2 Super Bowl MVPs to his credit. Eli didn’t make the playoffs as often like Stafford, he finished top 10 in passing yards and TDs in a passing era. Eli’s regular season record was 117-117 and he had the iron man streak. Manning gets in the Hall in my opinion because of the multiple rings and passing numbers. But the biggest reason why I feel Stafford and Eli are borderline though is the hardware. Stafford and Manning never won an MVP. While it’s not a prerequisite to get in, it shows that you were elite at your position. Stafford has a Comeback Player of the Year, but has only been to one Pro Bowl in his career. He needs multiple Pro Bowls to show he should be considered one of the best at his position in his era. Manning went to 4, so while that’s not a high number it’s higher than Stafford.
Photo Credit: SI.com
I believe at the end of the day, Stafford will be in the Hall of Fame. The debate will rage on his greatness and if he deserves to be in the same conversation of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers that he played with. I think if I had a vote right now, I would have him out. I think he has the numbers in a passing era so I feel like you need to adjust them on a curve to show how these numbers really match up. The win-loss record will sort itself out after he had a losing record in Detroit. But the lack of hardware and Pro Bowls stand out to me as a reason why I don’t have him in yet. He might have a few years left to really grow and get more hardware, but the youth movement is on so he might not get it. But eventually the Hall will come calling for Matthew.