Is Matthew Stafford really in the same category as Aaron Rodgers?

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /

Is Stafford in the same stratosphere as Rodgers?

The comparisons between Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers are difficult to make without taking the franchises they play for into account.

Rodgers plays for the historic Green Bay Packers. This is a team that not only boasts the specter and legacy of Vince Lombardi but has seldom been out of contention since 1992 when Brett Favre Joined the franchise making them perennial contenders until he left after the 2007 season and turned the keys over to Aaron Rodgers.

Matthew Stafford was brought in to turnaround the Detroit Lions who were the first team since the advent of the 16 game schedule to find a way to be bad enough to go winless for a whole season. Since their last championship in 1957, the Lions have been nothing more than a laughing stock.

Now in truth what has occurred before either Stafford or Rodgers arrived has little to do with their careers, but it is important for us to understand the dynamics of each franchise. In the case of the Packers, they understand winning and as a result, they have been able to build consistent winners.

Meanwhile, the Lions know nothing about winning and therefore have seldomly given this team a real chance to compete for a title.

So since a quarterback’s worth always seems to boil down to team success, that makes Rodgers the better player, right? Maybe.

There are certain innate things that Rodgers does that make him an outstanding player. He understands his abilities completely and plays within them at all times. Considering his mobility and accuracy, that makes it easier to play within himself.

But Rodgers hardly turns the ball over and whenever he is in the game, Green Bay has a chance to win.

Perhaps, due to the circumstances of the franchise that Stafford plays for, he often seems to try to do too much. Yet to his credit, he also accomplishes quite a bit considering the rosters he has been a part of.

Sure Matthew has made mistakes and even had times he has been like a deer in the headlights taking a bad sack when he shouldn’t have, but engineering 31 fourth-quarter comebacks and 38 game-winning drives overall for a team like the Detroit Lions isn’t exactly a small feat.

Phill Simms’ assessment that Stafford wasn’t quite at Rodgers level but in the same stratosphere might be controversial, but it also isn’t really that far off either.

Rodgers has been an outstanding player who has also benefitted from a franchise that has been very competitive. Yet for all his talents, Rodgers only has one Super Bowl title to show for his efforts.

Matthew Stafford has played on teams that have been mostly bad. He’s hardly ever had any kind of decent running game or defense to help him win games. Stafford’s record of 0-3 in the playoffs seems to be evidence against him, but with less to work with that Rodgers, has he truly underachieved any more than his rival from Green Bay?

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In the end, Rodgers is certainly the better quarterback, but if the Lions decide to rebuild and move on from Matthew Stafford, as Phil Simms seems to believe they will, Matthew may finally have an opportunity to show the whole world what he is really capable of.