Super Bowl winning QB Matthew Stafford should not fall outside Top-5

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Let’s be clear. LA Rams veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford won Super Bowl LVI for the team. He was down to two starting WRs in Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson. He was behind. He threw a no-look pass to WR Cooper Kupp that fans and analysts are still talking about. And he drove for the game-winning touchdown, covering 78 yards in less than five minutes of game time. The electricity of that game was clear.

Matthew Stafford deserved to win that game.

In the history of the NFL, there have been Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks who were game managers. You know their names. Quarterbacks like Trent Dilfer, Jim Plunkett, Jeff Hostetler, and a host of other hurlers whose role was less about winning a game and more about not losing a game.

Make high percentage throws. Hand off the football. Don’t turn the ball over. Let the defense set up the offense. Those tasks are assigned to quarterbacks who are there to manage the pace of the football game, move the chains, and keep the defense off the football field long enough to stay fresh.

That will never describe Matthew Stafford.

So here we are, not even the first live snap of the football away from Matthew Stafford leading a badly outmanned LA Rams offense down the field for a Super Bowl-winning touchdown, and a new QB ranking chart appears on the scale.

Matthew Stafford as the sixth-ranked NFL quarterback? Come again?

Let’s break some things down here, starting with the quarterbacks on this list, the number of NFL seasons, and the number of years playing with their current NFL team:

  • Players                   Yrs in NFL        Yrs w current team
  1. Aaron Rodgers         17                        17
  2. Patrick Mahomes      5                           5
  3. Josh Allen                     4                           4
  4. Tom Brady                 22                           2
  5. Joe Burrow                   2                           2
  6. Matthew Stafford   13                          1
  7. Justin Herbert              2                          2
  8. Russell Wilson           10                         0
  9. Deshaun Watson        5                          0
  10. Dak Prescott                6                          6

Who is the outlier? Well, Stafford seems to be this year, just as Tom Brady was last year. A quarterback that wins a Super Bowl with a new team ought to be weighed accordingly, right?

Let’s break down the 2021 QB stats a bit further to illustrate our point.

Matthew Stafford ranking 2021 QB stats:

Passing yards?

1 Tom Brady –                 5,316 yards
2 Justin Hebert –            5,014 yards
3 Matthew Stafford –   4,886 yards

Passing TDs?

1 Tom Brady –                 43 TDs
2 Matthew Stafford –   41 TDs
3 Justin Hebert –            38 TDs

Perhaps it’s QBR?

1 Aaron Rodgers            69.1
2 Tom Brady –                 68.1
3 Justin Hebert –            65.6
2 Matthew Stafford –   63.8

Perhaps it’s yards per pass attempt?

1 Joe Burrow –                 8.9 YPA
2 Jimmy Garoppolo –     8.6 YPA
3 Matthew Stafford –    8.1 YPA

Okay, let’s summarize this. Matthew Stafford just won the Super Bowl with a new NFL team.  He led the LA Rams on three fourth-quarter comebacks and four game-winning drives in 2021. He flirted with the top NFL quarterback statistics all season, and that was despite being pulled in the fourth quarter in blowout victories.

In the NFL Playoffs, he had two fourth-quarter comebacks and three game-winning drives. That’s better than Joe Burrow, better than Aaron Rodgers, and better than Josh Allen.

The sixth-ranked quarterback? Based on what, exactly?

NFL offseason rankings are designed to engage NFL fans when there are no NFL games being played. But let’s set some standards. If you’re talking about great quarterbacks of the past? Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have had incredible seasons. If you want to talk about great quarterbacks of the future? Joe Burrow, Justin Hebert, and Josh Allen are your guys.

This is Matthew Stafford’s time. Let’s just sit back and enjoy it.

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