The Detroit Lions have long possessed one of the toughest quarterbacks in the game in Matthew Stafford, and that was proven once again within Stafford’s work last season with his soon to be former team.
Much of the year, Stafford was banged up including late in the season when he suffered thumb, rib and ankle injuries. The ailments would have kept a lesser quarterback off the field, but Stafford never begged out for the Lions, even though the season was very clearly not heading in the right direction.
In a piece with Mitch Albom in the Detroit Free Press, Stafford explained what he was dealing with, and it’s clear he was walking extremely wounded by the time the season wound down in Detroit.
Heres what Stafford was dealing with:
Stafford’s tough mindset will be missed as he gets set to move on to the Los Angeles Rams, and the Lions will have to hope his mantra rubs off on other players within their organization. He always put his body on the line for the team, and this only shows how much he was dealing with late in the season.
Matthew Stafford Played Through Numerous Career Injuries
Stafford has been one of the most durable quarterbacks in the league, but he has also had times where he has had to fight off serious injury on the field. His 2019 season was lost to a broken bone in his back, and it’s likely Stafford would have tried to play through that had it been physically possible. Stafford also made his durability famous in 2009, when he played through a separated shoulder in a game against the Cleveland Browns and threw a game-winning touchdown with no time left on the clock. Stafford would miss the 2010 season with injury, but would come back and claim Comeback Player of the Year honors a season later. Until recently, he had avoided major injuries. During the 2016 year, he played with a broken finger on his hand and tried to will the Lions to a postseason win.
Toughness and durability has not been Stafford’s issue in Detroit through the years. He’s been able to battle and stick it out through some tough situations.
Matthew Stafford’s 2020 Stats
Toughness or not, it always seemed that the future of Stafford was going to become a big talking point for the Lions given the changes within the front office and at head coach. The past regime, led by Bob Quinn, remained loyal to Stafford but the shakeup always seemed it would leave his future firmly up in the air. That’s especially true given the fact that ownership has essentially deferred the decision to the new staff once they come to town. Combined with Stafford’s own desire to leave town, it seems that an easy consensus was reached.
During the 2020 season, Stafford didn’t have the type of season that will wow many folks statistically. He threw 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with 4,084 passing yards. He’s had good games and average games, but has shown the toughness that has come to define his tenure. To that end, he will be missed now that he’s departing the Lions.
Reading about what Stafford really went through in 2020 will prove just how tough the quarterback was in the end and what he was able to do for the team.