Considering that is more-or-less dominated a week's worth of airtime leading up to the game, it probably shouldn't be a surprise that a major takeaway from Sunday night's Wild Card win over the Rams had to do with Matt Stafford. Here he was, returning to the Lions for the first time since being traded to Los Angeles in 2021. And for the Lions' first home playoff game in three decades, no less. It was a big deal for Detroit, regardless of who they were playing. But immediately after the Lions' 24-23 win, most of the post game reaction seemed to focus on Stafford's press conference, in which he was mostly diplomatic. There were a few moments, however, where it seemed like the QB of a team that just had their season ended wasn't in the best mood – if you can believe that – and maaaaaaybe was working through some things:
"You almost hope they would, right?" he said. "[Goff's] their quarterback. He's playing great. He led them to a win today. I'm happy for him. I thought he played excellent today. He's leading an offense that's playing at a really good clip right now. They should be proud of him, they should be cheering for him ... it's a playoff game, I'm not surprised that they were excited about cheering for their team. I'm not too worried about anybody's personal feelings towards me that was sitting in the stands."
All in all, that's not, like, the worst thing you can say about the situation. Stafford makes a lot of extremely reasonable points about the situation – mainly, that it was silly to think that Lions fans were going to treat his return like some fun Week 4 event, and not what it was: the first home playoff game in 30 years against a QB that left town for LA and won a Super Bowl. And yeah, maybe that final line was a little bit of snark, but let's remember that this guy quite literally just had his season ended by the team he chose to leave. What he said about the fans isn't any more or less disrespectful than said fans booing him for 3 hours of pregame warmups. That's just, for lack of a better word, football.