Yes, Detroit. When it comes to quarterbacks you’ve finally got it good. After decades of Eric Hipples, Chuck Longs, Rodney Peetes, Charlie Batches, Joey Harringtons and the John Kitnas of the the world–and those are the GOOD names among the bunch–the Lions are finally, firmly set at the quarterbacks position. Not just talentwise, but with a core of players whose personalities fit exactly what this team and city is looking for.
Of course it all starts–and almost finishes with–the breakout performer Matthew Stafford, but don’t forget about his backups, the no-nonsense Shaun Hill and charitable Drew Stanton who both seemed capable to lead this team in a pinch. While Hill will probably be back, Stanton will likely test the market for a #2 spot somewhere…but you never know. This amazing core could return again.
Let’s just concentrate on the man of the hour, however. Stafford not only defied critics in shattering every Detroit Lions passing record and leading his team to it’s first playoff appearance in 12 years–he did it in a completely unassuming manner. A large portion of NFL fans and national media completely dismissed Stafford’s 5038 yard, 41 TD season. “The Pushing Cris Carter for King Moron” Marshall Faulk tried to generate some buzz when he said he wasn’t impressed with Stafford’s season. Well, how about his career? Stafford has thrown 60 TD passes in the 29 NFL games he’s appeared in. Fellow 2009 1st round picks Mark Sanchez has throw 55 in 47 games and Josh Freeman 51 in 41 games. Stafford has throw for 5000 yards, something Joe Montana or Peyton Manning never did. Mashall Faulk appears to be trying to secure his place on “The View” with his meaningless, substance-less statements. Stafford’s amazing season was only made more fantastic when considering that a large chunk of his yardage came in the final 4 games, when the Lions backs were against the wall in the playoff chase. With teams keying in on Stafford–knowing the Lions inability to run the football–they still couldn’t stop him and Calvin Johnson from lighting up the scoreboard.
The greatest reason Stafford is a fit for this city–other than his toughness–is his demeanor. What does he do when slighted by the media? Nothing. He doesn’t care. He didn’t bitch like roid-raged Brian Cushing of the Texans did on his Pro-Bowl snub. He just says, “Oh well”…echoing the sentiments of his boss, Jim Schwartz, who doesn’t put much credence in the NFL popularity contests. Stafford knows how good he is and he doesn’t need anyone to reinforce that in him. And he’s no Sanchez in the spotlight, he appears uncomfortable, almost awkward in the limelight off the field, but completely at place on the field–also unlike Sanchez.
Even thought he’s a Texas kid who played college football in the SEC, he’s already Detroit through and through.