Over 12 seasons as the Detroit Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford played in three playoff games (all losses of course). Now in third season away from Detroit, he'll play in his fifth playoff game with the Los Angeles Rams this weekend.
Against the Lions, of course, after the decision to rest him in Week 18 put that prospect in doubt.
No Lions fans can blame Stafford for asking to be traded as the team entered a rebuild in 2021. This weekend won't be his first game against his former team, as the Lions traveled to L.A. in Week 7 of the 2021 season (a 28-19 Rams win).
But this is the playoffs, and the game is in Detroit. So it automatically carries extra significance. Stafford's three playoff games as a Lion were all on the road too, so it will be his first playoff game at Ford Field.
Matthew Stafford excited to return to Detroit for playoff game
After the Rams, with Carson Wentz under center, beat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday to clinch the No. 6 seed and lock in the Wild Card Round matchup, facing the Lions was an automatic topic for Stafford to be asked about. Even as he tried to keep some focus on what his current team did, rallying from a 3-6 start to win 10 games and clinch a playoff spot in Week 17.
"The opportunity happens to be in Detroit, which is fun for me on a personal level. ... I know it's going to be rocking there. Haven't had a playoff game there about 30 years or whatever it is. So it'll be a great atmosphere. It'll be a tough task for us, but definitely excited."
Stafford acknowledged how there will be "a lot of stuff beforehand", but "a football game is a football game once the ball is snapped."
Stafford will certainly catch some stray boos from Lions' fans in attendance on Sunday night. There will also be plenty of Lions' fans who will carry dread he'll play really well and knock his former team out of the playoffs.
It will be a "rocking" atmosphere in Ford Field Sunday night, with the added significant layer of Stafford's return for the Lions' first home playoff game in 30 years.