Matthew Stafford stood at the podium and looked momentarily frazzled by the question. It’s the preseason, and Stafford, who had answered questions about his newborn child and the third preseason game, wasn’t expecting it.
But in the NFL, for any team with a franchise quarterback, there’s only one thing that really matters — the postseason.
For all the individual success Stafford has had in his career, the gaudy statistics he has put up and his role as the constant among eras of change in Detroit since the Lions drafted him in 2009, team success has eluded him.cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys
He wouldn’t be the first Lions player to have that happen; Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson went through, essentially, the same thing. The viewpoint is different for quarterbacks, though. Other than coaches, who are hired and fired because of wins and losses, no one in the NFL is judged more on titles and postseason success than quarterbacks. It’s how people, right or wrong, make a line of demarcation for a quarterback’s success.
“One-hundred percent they do,” Stafford said. “I don’t hear many people talking about a running back or a receiver or a defensive end’s playoff career record. But it’s understandable. We touch the ball on every single play and make a lot of critical plays and decisions.
“Whether it’s fair or not is up to me to judge or think, really, too much about, because it’s out of my control. So I just go out there and try to play as well as I can.”
And because of this, like golfers and tennis players without major championships, Stafford has this label: He is the best quarterback in the NFL not to win a playoff game.
“Easily,” said receiver Golden Tate, one of his main targets over the years.cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping
If you’re looking for the biggest hole in Stafford’s career entering his 10th year, it is the postseason. The Lions have no division titles under Stafford. He has had four winning seasons, but all either ended at the conclusion of the regular season or on the road in the wild-card round.
Yet the way Stafford has played throughout his career and the success he has had relative to his peers in the same situation have put him in an intriguing situation. He is widely viewed as a top-10 quarterback in the NFL and one of the better comeback creators in the league.
Of quarterbacks without a playoff win, he is first all time in passing yards (34,749), and only Sonny Jurgensen, John Hadl and Y.A. Tittle threw for more touchdowns than Stafford’s 216.