The last and probably most important criteria that Richard Sherman has glossed over is his neglect of opportunity. In short, given a set of circumstances, what did that player do with the opportunity? Did they rise to the occasion? Or did they fall short?
Let’s use Aaron Rodgers as a perfect example to illustrate what we mean. Assuming Rodgers is a future Hall of Fame QB, he has played 17 NFL seasons with the same team. Of those 17 seasons, the Green Bay Packers have made it to the NFL Playoffs 12 times. Rodgers’ record in the postseason? He is 12-10.
Over the 12 opportunities he has had to lead the Packers to a Super Bowl victory, he has accomplished that feat just once in his entire NFL career. Rodgers earned the MVP from that Super Bowl, but he did so because WR Jordy Nelson caught nine of 15 passes for 140 yards and one touchdown, while WR Greg Jennings caught four of seven passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns
Stafford had one option
The LA Rams offense did not have a variety of options for Matthew Stafford in Super Bowl LVI. In fact, by the second half of the game, his only viable option was to throw to Cooper Kupp. If Kupp makes the catch, the LA Rams win and Kupp is the hero. If Kupp doesn’t make the catch, the Rams lose and Stafford will be toe-tagged as being unable to win the Big Game once more.
Let’s face the reality. Stafford was shredding the Bengals’ secondary when the Rams had two viable targets in Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. But when OBJ fell to injury, the LA Rams offense had Kupp, WR Van Jefferson, WR Ben Skorownek, and tight end Brycen Hopkins running the routes. The Rams were so desperate to get something going that RB Darrell Henderson was fourth in receiving yards on the team.
Richard Sherman was once a very good player. But as is the case with many, as their performance on the field diminishes, they are more than happy to retake the spotlight by stirring the pot of controversy. Matthew Stafford’s career is not over yet. So far, he is 1-0 in NFL Championship Games.
Let’s hold off on the thumbs-down vote just yet. Matthew Stafford has had one season with the LA Rams, has set passing records, and has just swept the NFL Playoffs with a run of 4-0. Too soon to anoint him an NFL Hall of Famer? Perhaps. But it sure as hell is too soon to reject him for the NFL Hall of Fame.