After 13 seasons in the NFL, Matthew Stafford finally showed he’s capable of winning on a high level. The QB helped the Rams get that elusive ring they’ve been seeking since head coach Sean Mcvay took over. Stafford had spent 12 seasons in Detroit, where he made three playoff appearances but never managed to earn a win in the postseason. The QB was traded to the Rams this offseason to make a Super Bowl dream come true. The Rams went all-in with trades and signings, and just one year into the experiment, they achieved their ultimate goal. Now that Stafford has a Super Bowl ring, it begs the question; is he now a HOF? In my opinion, he is not; yet! Stafford has an 86-95-1 regular-season record.
As QBs are playing till 40, Stafford has time left to cement his legacy. The Super Bowl ring certainly helps his case, as does his impressive career numbers, but his inability to compete with the Lions leaves a lot to be desired. Stafford was never able to lift the Lions over the hump. Joe Burrow, his QB counterpart, did what Stafford couldn’t with a franchise in shambles. Uplift a team with his skills and leadership.
Stafford has just one Pro Bowl appearance across his 13 seasons in the NFL. I argue he should’ve been one this year. While Pro Bowl honors aren’t exactly representative of a player’s Hall of Fame candidacy, the fact that Stafford has only one doesn’t bode well for his case for Canton. Quarterbacks such as Mitchell Trubisky, Vince Young, and Derek Anderson have as many Pro Bowl appearances as Stafford. So, has the bar been lowered for QBs? When I think of HOF, I think of the best! All-decade players, All-Pro players, playoff success over a sustained period. Thus far, you can tell the story of the NFL without mentioning Stafford. Additionally, he lost out on the Super Bowl MVP to Cooper Kupp, deservedly so. Stafford has arm talent, but that only gets you so far.
He had a star wide receiver in Calvin Johnson who racked up several pro-bowls. He also earned numerous All-Pro honors. Johnson was one of the best at his position. Stafford was not. Being in Detroit isn’t an excuse for lack of Pro Bowl or All-Pro appearances.
But time is on his side at 34 years old; Stafford ranks as No. 12 all-time with 49,995 passing yards. He’s 12th all-time in passing touchdowns and 11th in pass completions. Those numbers compare to the greatest quarterbacks ever, including Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, John Elway, Brett Favre, and many other greats. While we are now in a pass-happy period in football, he can lay claim to success in the second part of his career. Stafford is a quarterback who has been good, but never great, until this season, when he still led the league with his 17 interceptions. If the QB has six more years of success on this level, he will be a HOF. But as of the end of the 2021-2022 season, he is not.