Is Matthew Stafford the most polarizing athlete in Detroit?
By Robert Jones
Today Matthew Stafford is possibly the most polarizing player in the Detroit sports scene. There are those that love him and believe if only the rest of the roster can be built to a championship level, then the titles will start rolling in. Many others feel he is overrated and is holding the Lions back from any chance of contending for anything.
There is almost no middle ground.
If we are being fair, then we consider that much of Matthew’s career here in Detroit has been marked by subpar rosters. Only one running back (Reggie Bush) has run for 1,000 yards in a season during Stafford’s time in Detroit. Calvin Johnson is one of the great all-time receivers, but only in his final two seasons did the Lions find a talented complimentary receiver in the form of Golden Tate.
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The offensive line has habitually allowed Stafford to be sacked unmercifully and the defense has, for the most part, had trouble stopping anyone.
But in 2014 head coach Jim Caldwell brought respectability to the Lions in his first year on the sidelines. The defense was among the best in the league, but the offense sputtered under offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.
Despite being given virtually the same prolific offense that the New Orleans Saints had, Stafford couldn’t make it work.
After making the playoffs as a wildcard team, they lost to the Dallas Cowboys in controversial fashion. This was the infamous ‘picked-up flag’ game where the officials reversed the interference call on Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens.
What fans fail to remember is that the defense still had a chance to win the game if they could stop the Cowboys one last time. Needless to say, they didn’t.
In many ways, Matthew Stafford career has been an oxymoron. He has struggled to lead the Lions to victory over teams with winning records during the course of his career, yet he is one of the most prolific come from behind quarterbacks in NFL history, which is possibly the most pressure-filled situation in the game.
Stafford holds every passing record in Detroit Lions history but hasn’t been able to find a way to win one single playoff game.