My how things have changed in the course of one year. Wasn’t it just a year ago, before the season started, that Matthew Stafford was considered a china doll and on the verge of being ranked with some of biggest draft bust of all-time? Some had him ranked with the Ryan Leafs and JaMarcus Russells that flamed out after a couple of years. Wrong!
Matthew Stafford just turned 24 last week and he is, in my mind, the HOTTEST commodity in the NFL. No, I’m not still buzzed from the Super Bowl party, I just think that Stafford at the age of 24 would be at the top of a general manager’s list if he could pick anybody in the NFL to start a team with.
The first question asked is what about the other quarterbacks in the league who have done it better and longer than Stafford? The answer to that is that most of the great ones that are destined for the Hall of Fame, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, are all on the wrong side of 30. The other QBs that have a much stronger resume than Stafford, Eli Manning, 31, Ben Rothlisberger, 28, and Aaron Rodgers, 28, are at least four years older than our man in Detroit.
Taking off my Honolulu Blue and Silver glasses for a moment, I really don’t think Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning or Ben Rothlisberger are better quarterbacks than Stafford is. Rodgers had a fantastic year, But I think Matt Flynn’s dismantling of the Lions showed that the Packers have a great system. Stafford clearly has better mechanics and ability than Manning or Rothlisberger, but those guys are some of the best clutch QBs in the history of the game. Have any of them every thrown for over 5,000 yards in a season?
I think Matt Stafford benefited greatly from missing all of those games his first two seasons due to injury. The scary thing is that he’s just now scratching the surface of his ability and we’re talking about a kid who just came off a season where he became only the 4th quarterback in the history of the game to pass for over 5,000 yards. Remember that he did this with no running game at all. The only player that could contest Stafford as the young quarterback to build a team around is Cam Newton, and he’s only had one year so the jury’s still out on him.
What I think makes no difference, but when the boss, Bill Ford Jr, says in print that he would take you over any QB in the league right now based on age, well, that’s a strong statement. Trent Dilfer was quoted as saying that if Matt Stafford can stay healthy, “He’s got a Hall of Fame trajectory.”
I feel like I’m in the same place as Bill Ford Jr, with a much lighter wallet. We’re the same age and have watched the same wretched quarterbacks throw for the last 40 something years. Finally our prayers have been answered. We finally found a replacement for Bobby Layne. Happy Birthday Matt!