An Open Letter To Matthew Stafford on Behalf of Michigan
Dear Matthew Stafford,
While I'm not either a Detroit Lions nor a Los Angeles Rams fan, because of where I live (Michigan) I have pretty much watched your entire professional football career. And I believe, for more than a few years, you may have gotten a raw deal.
Yes, while being an overall number one draft pick in the NFL lands you a huge contract to play a game you love, it does place the hopes and dreams of an entire fan base on your shoulders. And if that fan base is the long suffering Detroit Lions' fan base, that can be quite a burden. And yes, it was. Being in your position, you got a lot of blame for, well, just about everything. But as I told so many friends along the way, the Lions management never gave you a great offensive line to block for you. Hell, you came in in the aftermath of the Matt Millen disaster and the Rod Marinelli coaching regime. 'Nuff said. Nor did their successors pick up or draft a great running back to make the offense a little more unpredictable. Yes, you had Hall of Famer "Megatron", Calvin Johnson, but then you also had head coaches like Jim Schwartz and Matt Patricia, both defensive coaches. When you had an offensive minded coach, Jim Caldwell, you went to the playoffs.
And when you knew it was time to leave you did it in a classy way. No demands in the media, just a quiet conversation with the powers that be. And look at the haul of draft picks that brought back, too.
This past Sunday, you went toe to toe with the GOAT, greatest of all time, Tom Brady. You led the team to a big first half lead, but Brady is Brady and this game was setting up as another Brady comeback classic along the lines of the Falcons Super Bowl win. But when you were faced with the biggest play of your life, the biggest throw, you connected with Cooper Kupp and placed the ball right in his hands. Then a field goal eliminated Brady and the Bucs.
Your buddy (and battery mate) from high school, Clayton Kershaw got his ring last year with the Dodgers. I hope you get yours with the Rams in a few weeks. And I hope the Lions do well, too. Jason Goff took a lot of heat, too, and I may well be writing him a open letter along the way.