With a quality performance on Monday Night Football, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has a chance to break an NFL record. Does that matter?
It has felt like an eternity for Detroit Lions fans, who haven’t watched their beloved football team play in more than two weeks. That wait will all be over soon though, as the Lions will travel to face NFC North rival Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football.
While the Lions have surprisingly started off the season with a 2-1-1 record, this week’s road game against one of the NFL’s better teams will help prove if this Detroit team is legit or not. While Lions fans will obviously be watching that game with much anticipation, they will also be watching the box score to see just how many yards quarterback Matthew Stafford can rack up in the road test.
If Stafford is able to pass for more than 352 yards on Monday night, or any time in the next five weeks for that matter, he will become the fastest quarterback to hit the 40,000 yard mark in league history.
While this is a quality accomplishment, if he does hit this milestone, it will automatically be seen by the national media is not that impressive, because Stafford has gained a bit of a reputation as a stat-stuffer.
There are a number of reasons why Stafford got to where he is today with an ability to break a record. Part of the reason why he has thrown for as many yards is because for most of his career the Lions running game has been mediocre-to-nonexistent, forcing him to throw the ball for the Lions offense more often than not.
It also helps Stafford that the Lions have often played from behind in his tenure as the Lions’ quarterback, forcing him to throw for a lot of yards against defenses that may have taken their feet off the gas. Pass-favorable rule changes have also played a part in Stafford and most modern quarterbacks posting more yards than their 80s counterparts.
Plus, having a future Hall-of-Fame receiver to chuck the ball up to and pray that he catches it has helped him get a lot of yards, even though more often than not, those throws may have been ill-advised.
A common topic on sports radio debate shows all across the state of Michigan has become if Stafford will end his career in Canton like Johnson most likely will.
The answer right now is clearly a no. Stafford posts a sub-.500 career record of 68-76-1 as of Sunday, Oct. 13. What’s even more depressing is his 0-3 playoff record, and if that zero remains on his record, he can kiss that gold jacket goodbye.
With all that being said, Stafford has a lot of good years ahead of him. He’s 31 years old, and Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady is 11 years older than him while still posting impressive passing totals and recently passed the 70,000 yard mark. With the yardage pace he is currently on, Stafford could go down as one of the gaudiest passers in NFL history.
All that is fine and dandy, and while he doesn’t have a playoff win to show for all these yards, he still leads the league since 2009 in finding a way to win when trailing in the fourth quarter.
Stafford has proven time and time again that even with less-than-ideal teams around him, he can lead his team to victory, even when they are down in the final 15 minutes. As impressive as that is, it doesn’t mean nothing if Stafford can’t help his team win big games.
He has done his best to buck that narrative this season, beating two teams who made the playoffs last season in the Los Angeles Chargers and the Philadelphia Eagles, as well as nearly beating the Kansas City Chiefs while outdueling reigning MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Monday’s night game will be yet another big one for Stafford, as not only can break an NFL record, but he can prove on a national stage that he belongs in Hall of Fame conversation.
If the Lions can win a few more big games like this and Stafford can help lead Detroit to few playoff wins in the next five years, he just might make his Hall-of-Fame case one that can’t be refused.