Jay C. Brandriet
As we approach Super Bowl 56, I keep hearing the same question being asked.
Is Matthew Stafford one win away from the Hall of Fame?
I think of Stafford as a slightly more skilled, less accomplished Philip Rivers or Matt Ryan.
A top 6 to 10 type quarterback.
A one-time Pro Bowl player, who’s better than that sounds.
He played with the Detroit Lions. so we point out his losing.
Because he was with the Lions, we give him a slight break for it.
The numbers are serious business.
He’s 5 passing yards short of 50,000.
How about fourth best ever in yards per game?
Matt is tied for seventh all time, in game winning drives.
I put a lot of weight into how much I fear an opponent when they are going up against “my” Dallas Cowboys. Stafford’s efforts have left me punched in the gut. Number 9 will take a licking and keep on ticking. He’s hardnosed and clutch.
Matthew goes to an L.A. Rams team with a full cupboard of talent.
He and they had a terrific season.
With seconds left in the divisional round versus Tampa Bay, the Rams offense was under loads of pressure. Stafford dropped two dimes, that included the signature throw of his career.
The QB that had a 0-3 playoff record, is 3-3 just like that. It matters WHO you play with.
A year ago? I likely viewed Matt as Tony Romo/Carson Palmer level. That’s proof of how winning big changes things quickly.
That brings us to this weekend.
The Los Angeles Rams will be hosting the Cincinatti Bengals.
If he played fantastic and won, is Stafford a Hall of Famer?
For me, not quite yet.
If you say yes, no way he’s first ballot.
If it’s a no, he’s closer than you think.
If the Hall of Fame was a house, he would be on the front lawn.
Maybe next year he gets up on the porch.
I think he still needs to pick up some quality scraps.
Maybe a few more star caliber seasons?
Two or three more post season victories?
A 70 yard bomb, to pull out a Wild Card game in dramatic fashion?
I’d have to see him hang around for a minute. More moments. More resume fillers.
Being fair to the process, he’s competing for all the marbles Sunday. Getting this win, would be the foundation to his Hall of Fame argument.
If they lose, and he performs below his standards?
His map to Canton is a bit tougher to read.
It’s a cruel game.
Monday morning, the crowd would be focused on the rise of Joe Burrow.
Jay C. Brandriet