The Legend Of Matthew Stafford

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Obviously a lot of buzz surrounding Stafford after his record-setting Sunday. I am partial to Dan Graziano's take (AOL Fanhouse).

Sounds cliche, but if there were ever a time to gauge poise, this was it. The final eight seconds of this game were a frenzy, and Stafford managed to keep his head about him while others (notably Browns coach Eric Mangini) were losing theirs. ~ "We didn't draft him for his elusiveness," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "During that play I screamed 'Throw the ball!' about six times, but he just kept on making somebody miss and buying himself time."


"I was content to lay there for a while," Stafford said, continuing his painkiller-aided rambling description of the play. "And then Dom (Raiola) grabbed me and told me that pass interference was called and I was like, 'Really? Come on.' I need to figure out which ref called it, because he's a good man."


"I heard timeout over the loudspeaker and knew that was probably my only chance to get back in," said Stafford, an NFL rookie who apparently knows a rule that an NFL head coach does not. "It was my left shoulder and I don't really need it to throw."

Armed with such rock-solid logic, he raced over to offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and told him, "I can throw." Stunned, Linehan sent him back onto the field for the final play, which was a touchdown pass to Brandon Pettigrew. The extra point won the game.

"He made a great play to finish the game, but probably his best play was eluding four team doctors on the sideline that were all trying to stop him (from going back into the game)," Schwartz said. "It's a good thing our team doctors didn't play on varsity, because Matt had to work his way back onto the field."

I've been among the more stubborn of skeptics, but at this point any doubt that Stafford will be a very good NFL quarterback has been erased. He will still make infuriating decisions (like the interception into triple coverage on the Lions' preceding drive), he will probably have problems with touch and accuracy for years. But any quarterback who fights his way out of the dirt and throws the game winning TD at 0:00 with a shoulder hanging limply has everything it takes to be great.