Matthew Stafford versus the QB record books in 2020

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

After 11 seasons in the NFL, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is moving up in the record books.

The Detroit Lions have had their answer at the quarterback for the past 11 NFL seasons with Matthew Stafford. Continue into 2020, how could Stafford’s statistics compare to others in the history of the NFL if the season continues as planned?

We’ve talked about a significant record that Stafford could own if he throws a touchdown pass versus the Green Bay Packers this season. While he’s still got quite a ways to go to catch quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Tom Brady in most of these categories, it might be interesting to take a look at the strides Stafford could take in 2020.

Let’s start with the common stats that are associated with a quarterback. No, not wins. Remember, teams win games, not quarterbacks. Instead, let’s look at passing yards and touchdowns where Stafford is currently ranked 18 and 19, respectively, all-time.

The question is where he could be ranked by the end of the season. Taking the average of all his yards-per-season and touchdowns-per-season, we get some very realistic data at 3,729 yards and 23 touchdowns. This includes seasons where he was injured and didn’t play all 16 games, so you could even say we’re low-balling these stats.

Adding his current totals (41,025 yards and 256 touchdowns) to these low averages would bring his totals to 44,754 passing yards and 279 touchdown passes. If we look at the NFL all-time leaderboard for quarterbacks, Stafford would pass Dan Fouts (43,040) and Drew Bledsoe (44,611) for passing yards and move into sixteenth place while still looking up at the likes of Vinny Testaverde (46,233) and Carson Palmer (46,247). And we’re only looking at retired players as Aaron Rodgers’ total of 46,946 is likely to go up as well.

Talking about passing touchdowns per these average projections is a similar story, but it would include a very big name. Stafford would pass Dave Krieg (261), Joe Montana (273) and Vinny Testaverde (275). It’s a different league today, but Montana is still a football icon. Passing him on any all-time statistics list would surely be a nice feather in Stafford’s hat.

What other statistical landmarks could Matthew Stafford reach?

One of the more interesting milestones could be leading fourth-quarter comebacks. Stafford is currently tied for eleventh all-time with none other than Brett Favre with a total of 28. One more and he’ll be tied with a familiar name in the stats we’ve looked at so far, Vinny Testaverde, along with Fran Tarkenton at 29.

It’s hard to project fourth-quarter comebacks, but if we look at these stats the same way as the previous stats – averaged by seasons played – Stafford would have 2.5 this season. As with the other categories, let’s round down to set more realistic expectations. Moving up two, Stafford would tie Matt Ryan and be one game behind John Elway in this category.

There are some big names on these lists that Stafford should be excited to share the company with. Of course, these stats aren’t tied to playoffs or Super Bowls. They are just showing how a player has performed on the field, regardless of the outcome.

Just for fun, let’s look at one more area where Stafford could move up: interceptions thrown. This is one he’d rather stand pat and not move, but it is also part of the game. While he won’t have a chance to battle Favre for the number one spot at 336, he could move up from his rank of 77 with 134 interceptions.

With an average of 12 per season in his career, Stafford could end the season with 146 and pass names like Bart Starr (138), Joe Montana (139) and Troy Aikman (141). Stafford would still be looking up at players like Tom Brady (179) and Drew Brees (237). But, they have nearly a decade more games played than Stafford.

Next. Matthew Stafford at 40,000: 40 memorable moments. dark

Moving forward, the hope is these stats become meaningful in the team’s win-loss record and the Detroit Lions can move one step closer to winning the division, a playoff game and, the ultimate goal of every team, the Super Bowl.