The Monster of Motor City returns
For 12 years, the name Matthew Stafford was synonymous with the Detroit Lions. Stafford was drafted by the Detroit Lions with the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, and had been the franchise quarterback of the Lions through 2020.
If you look at the All-Time Passing Records for the Detroit Lions, you will find Matthew Stafford's name atop those records. Not only does he hold the All Time Single Season Passing Records, but he commands the All-Time Career Passing Records for the Detroit Lions, and likely will continue to do so for many years to come. As sometimes happens in the NFL, Stafford was cursed by being a very good quarterback on a series of very bad teams.
But in 2021, the Detroit Lions made wholesale changes to the entire team, starting with hiring personnel executive Brad Holmes from the LA Rams to become the Lions General Manager. Since that moment, the Lions have turned the corner and have improved each season. This year, for the first time since 1993. That is a 30 year drought.
When Holmes arrived, he was immediately faced with a landmark challenge. Long-time starting quarterback Matthew Stafford wanted out. He knew that the Detroit Lions would be rebuilding once more, and he felt the sands of time running out on his NFL career. At the same time, the LA Rams wanted to upgrade to the quarterback position. And so, the epic trade of Stafford to the LA Rams became NFL headlines.
While Stafford holds many records with the Detroit Lions, many Lions fans still quietly cheer him on. But don't look for a warm reception from the Lions fans in the Wild Card Round of the 2024 NFL Playoffs. The Lions open with a home game in the Playoffs, and former Lions quarterback, the Monster of Motor City, intends to spoil it for them.
How dramatic will this confrontation be? There is a report that the Detroit Lions local media is trying to ban Lions Stafford jerseys from being worn to Ford Field by fans who plan an watching the LA Rams face the Detroit Lions. And you can bet that has prompted Kelly Stafford, Matthew Stafford's wife, to respond:
While I do not agree with the attempt, I can understand the emotional turmoil and dilemma that Lions fans currently face. Imagine the LA Rams finally winning the NFC North Division after a 30-year drought, only to face All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald as the first opponent on the schedule.
That would certainly pluck an emotional chord for me.