Detroit Lions fans: A love-hate relationship with Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Detroit Lions fans have a love-hate relationship with quarterback Matthew Stafford, but is it justified? Let’s take a look into number nine, shall we?

In 2009 the Detroit Lions selected quarterback Matthew Stafford with the number one overall pick in the NFL draft. Stafford came to Detroit after playing collegiately for the Georgia Bulldogs from 2006-2008. He was easily the best quarterback in the 2009 draft class, amassing over 7,700 yards, 51 touchdowns and a rating of 133.3 over that three-year span with Georgia.

Stafford is entering his 11th season in the NFL this year and has accomplished quite a bit in Detroit. He has thrown for 38,526, yards (21st all-time) and 237 touchdowns (27th all-time). Stafford also has 26 fourth-quarter comebacks and holds numerous Detroit Lions franchise records regarding the position.

In 2014 Stafford was selected to his first Pro Bowl, where he earned his first Pro Bowl offensive MVP award. He set the record for most comeback wins in a single season in 2016 with eight, and he is also the fastest player in NFL history to reach 30,000 yards (109 games).

So how do we get to this point of frustration with such a good quarterback in Detroit? 66-75-0, that is the Lions win/loss/tie record with Stafford at the helm. Detroit has only reached the playoffs three times with their highly talented quarterback as well, losing in the first round each time.

Now personally, I don’t believe it is completely fair to put the blame directly on Matthew Stafford. He doesn’t have the win/loss record we would all like to see, but he has the numbers to prove that he does his job at a high level. 2018 was his worst statistical year, but he still nearly threw for 4,000 yards and had 21 touchdowns. As this isn’t great, he did it with a broken back.

I don’t like to point at Stafford and blame him for Detroit’s lack of success. The man has never had anything more than average coaching. He has never had much of a running game or defense to help him out, and he has never really had much in his offense to help. Winning and losing is a team effort, from the players to the coaches and even the front office. Let’s be honest with ourselves here, has Detroit really had any quality at any of these three levels? The answer here is, not much…

Stafford has had the likes of Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, which are both very talented wide receivers. Running back Reggie Bush ran for 1,000 yards in 2013 for the Lions. Outside of these three guys, I can’t think of any more offhand that has helped Stafford and the Lions along the way.

As for the defense, what defense? Detroit had the number two total defense in 2014, but that’s about it since Stafford has taken the snaps as a Detroit Lion. So what else has the defense done to help this franchise or Stafford in the past 10 seasons? Once again, not much.

It’s time we give Stafford some more credit. He is undoubtedly the best quarterback Detroit has ever had and he often wins games on his own. Show the man some love! The Lions have put some nice pieces in place around him for this upcoming season and I’m confident that Stafford will finally get the recognition he deserves in 2019. It is far past time that’s for sure.

I’m not going to go as far as saying that he will win the 2019 MVP, but I believe Stafford could be in the talks of it. Detroit has a legitimate shot at the NFC North this season and I feel the Lions will make the postseason regardless of how the North shakes out. I still feel that Stafford and the Lions will get that all-elusive playoff win in 2019 as well.

Also, a little side note for OnePride nation … I urge you not to buy into all the talk surrounding Detroit’s dismantlement at the hands of New England in their first preseason game either. Preseason games are nothing more than live televised practices with guys vying for a roster spot, especially the first two games. Coaches use these games as an evaluation tool. The starters, a few  quality backups, and some promising projects are nearly identified for the most part. These games are for bubble players and camp bodies.

Next. The slightly too early Detroit Lions All-Decade Offense. dark

Yes, the Detroit Lions have some things to work on, but it’s not nearly as bad as it’s being perturbed, such as the O-line. These guys have been shifting all around, up and down the line all through training camp. They have been mixed up playing with team one and team two. Head coach Matt Patricia and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell are just merely finding the perfect roles and combinations for the guys along this offensive front. The Lions are much better than what we all seen the other night and you can trust in that.