It really comes as no surprise that the Detroit Lions are right back at it again, wasting some of the best talents they’ve ever had. Barry Sanders one of the greatest HBs to ever play a down of football was wasted throughout his career. He was great despite the fact that his team was entirely dysfunctional and the only O-line he was ever given, was about as strong as a wet paper towel. Calvin Johnson, had potential and was on pace to becoming the greatest wide receiver of all time BUT he was wasted. Matthew Stafford is going to be the next career who was wasted in Detroit.
Stafford is on pace to have the best season in his career, with a passer rating of 105.3. He’s thrown 16 TD’s to just 4 INTs, along with 2,093 yards with a 64% completion percentage. Unfortunately, it will be one of many good seasons wasted and in all honesty I really don’t see this trend of wasting talents to stop anytime soon. The team currently sits at 3-3-1 on the season and is in 3rd place in the NFC north behind the Packers and Vikings. Two teams who are significantly better all around. Sad really.
Out of the 10 seasons Stafford has played, 7 of those seasons have been 4,000+ yard seasons one of which was 5000+ yard season. In his career he’s posted 40,619 yards, 253 touchdowns to 133 picks at a 62% completion percentage with an overall of 89.2 passer rating. In his tenure, he has compiled a total of 34 game winning drives. That’s 2 more than Philip Rivers, whos been playing in the league for 5 more seasons. 28 of the 34 game winning drives, are fourth quarter comebacks. That’s about as clutch as it gets.
I’ll also mention that he’s reached the 40,000 yard milestone in the least amount of time in NFL history. He completed this feat in 147 games, surpassing Matt Ryan who did it in 151 games. Currently, Stafford is chasing the Iron Man record as well, as he is now 6th in all time consecutive starts sitting at 135 games behind Brett Favre, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan. Its highly unlikely that anyone will ever touch Brett Favre’s record, but its worth mentioning.
Matthew Stafford has been the only saving grace of the Detroit Lions in the last decade. Without Stafford’s contributions to the team we’re probably looking at a couple more winless seasons, with zero playoff appearances. With the exception of Calvin Johnson (who retired early) I cant really name any other great weapons he’s had at his arsenal on a consistent basis. He’s done a lot of what he’s done without a whole lot of help on either side of the ball. On top of the dysfunction, he plays in a pretty competitive division which makes the margin of error so slim throughout the years.
I don’t believe Stafford gets the credit he deserves and gets a lot of heat for things that are clearly out of his hands and I suppose that just comes with territory. What Detroit has done to players careers is shameful really. The Lions are a prime example and should serve as a reminder that its a team sport. Sure, one player can make the difference in whether you finish 0-16, 8-8 or 6-10 but one player will not automatically make you a contender. Again, Detroit has had possibly 2 of the greatest prospects/players in their respective positions in Johnson and Sanders along with a solid franchise QB and hasn’t been anywhere near a Super Bowl in that time. Stafford and Johnson shared the same field at one point and yet the franchise couldn’t turn it into something great.
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