Matthew Stafford Takes the Biggest Stage in Football

Last year, the Super Bowl totaled 96.4 million viewers.

Last year, the Super Bowl totaled 96.4 million viewers.

Ian van Duursen , Staff Writer

“Okay…with the first pick in the 2009 NFL draft, the Detroit Lions select…Matthew Stafford…quarterback…Georgia,” Roger Goodell said on April 25, 2009 at The Radio City Music Hall in New York City. These eighteen words marked the start of a tremendous NFL career that is most definitely still in the making.

Matthew Stafford was born on February 7, 1988 in Tampa, Florida, but he moved at a young age to Dunwood, Georgia to pursue his father’s education. Stafford and his family would then move to Dallas, allowing Stafford to compete for the Highland Park High School football team.

During Stafford’s junior year of high school, he would lead his team to a 4A Division One Championship game, and win it, capping off a perfect year with a 15-0 record. As a result of this astounding season, Stafford was named an All-American and rated as a 5-star quarterback by numerous recruiting portals. 

Stafford’s college career officially started with his collegiate commitment on May 13, 2005 to the Georgia Bulldogs. The following year, Stafford would make his first true freshman start, which was also the first time this had happened at the University of Georgia since 1998. This first season would not shock many, with a mediocre record, and ending with a slim victory in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The Bulldog’s 2007 season would encapsulate much more success, ending in an 11-2 record. Stafford finished fifth in SEC for pass completions and sixth for touchdowns thrown. 2008 would be Stafford’s final college football season where he and the Bulldogs would go on to win the Capital One Bowl.  Stafford would be named Capital One Bowl MVP and was also named to the All-SEC 2nd team. He would eventually choose to opt-out of his senior season and declare eligible for the NFL draft.

Stafford would be drafted and signed by the Detroit Lions to a 41.7 million dollar contract and named the starting quarterback for the franchise. The Lions, a struggling franchise, would be tremendously bolstered by Stafford’s presence, eventually making playoff berths in 2011, 2014, and 2016, yet failing to win a postseason matchup would define Stafford’s career with the Lions. 

The Los Angeles Rams SoFi stadium is where the Super Bowl will be held. ( )

Many issues plagued the championship-less franchise, from coaching issues, draft mistakes, and the absence of an effective running game, Stafford was unable to win any titles. However, this silver-ware drought would not hinder Stafford from winning individual awards — selected to a pro-bowl and winning the 2011 Come-back Player of the Year award. 

One story that defines Matthew Stafford as a player and person came in the 2009 season, his rookie season. Late in the game, Stafford would take a huge hit from a Cleveland Brown’s linemen, which resulted in Stafford separating his left shoulder. The Lions were in the red-zone, needing a single touchdown to win the game, and their star-quarterback just separated his shoulder, a particularly complicated injury regarding his main job — to throw the ball. Fighting through pain and displaying his true grit, Stafford told the coach, “I can throw the ball if you need me to throw the ball.” Stafford lined up behind the center, got the snap, and darted a pass into the end zone for the score. After securing the win, Stafford hustled over to the sideline, with his arm dangling by his side. 

This story, and many other NFL accolades, like the most yards thrown in the first 100 games of an NFL quarterback, would effectively establish Stafford as an elite NFL quarterback. 

Along comes the 2021 NFL season, in which Matthew Stafford would make an unexpected trade to the Los Angeles Rams, a much more successful football team. Winning the starting positions, the Rams would hold a 12-5 record entering the postseason, with Matthew Stafford setting multiple franchise records and tying Rams legend Kurt Warner for passing touchdowns. The Rams would beat the Cardinals, Buccaneers, and 49ers to reach the Super Bowl, which will be played  February 13th in their So-Fi stadium.

Matthew Stafford has had a storied NFL career, hoping to add the biggest and best trophy in the game to his resume on Sunday. Taking on Joe Burrow and the Bengals, the Rams hope to win their first Super Bowl since 2000, with Stafford at the helm.