Matthew Stafford: Why the Detroit Lions QB Has to Have a Breakout Season in 2011

Kyle GibbonsAnalyst IIIJune 22, 2011

DETROIT - SEPTEMBER 02:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions warms up prior to the start of the preseason game against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field on September 2, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

When it comes to the Detroit Lions there are a lot of things that I can handle. I can handle the team going 0-16. I can handle being publicly ridiculed by my friends and co-workers when my allegiance to the organization is made a joke.

I can handle the Lions drafting a wide receiver in the first round for three consecutive years.

I however cannot handle Matthew Stafford not becoming the next great NFL quarterback.

I am tired of hearing how great Greg Landry was in ’71. I don’t care how many championships that Bobby Layne led the Lions to in the ‘50s. I will literally fist fight someone over mentioning Joey Harrington.

When will it all stop? The curse of Bobby Layne was supposed to end in 2008.

After the Lions traded the legendary Bobby Layne to the Steelers in ’58 he allegedly said that Lions would “not win for 50 years.” The Lions would go on to have the worst winning percentage of any team in the National Football League over the next 50 years. The final year of “The Curse of Bobby Layne” culminated in the aforementioned 0-16 winless season in ‘08.

Matthew Stafford was supposed to be the answer. He came from Highland Park High School, the same high school as Layne. Stafford also lived in a house on the same street as Layne’s.

Prior to his career at University of Georgia, Stafford was graded a five-star recruit by He was listed as the number one pro-style quarterback prospect in the class of 2006.

In 2006, even before his first game at Georgia. draft “guru” Mel Kiper Jr. said on ESPN Radio “Matthew Stafford eventually will be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. Write that down.”

Stafford was an All-American at Georgia, and during his tenure there he was integral in returning the team to National Championship contention.

He holds the University of Georgia’s single season touchdown passing record.

Stafford had enjoyed great success at the high school and collegiate levels.

He was a virtual lock to have an outstanding NFL career.  After his number one overall selection by the Detroit Lions in 2009, it looked as if he was well on his way.

In his rookie season for the Lions, Stafford broke two major single game rookie passing records. He holds both the single game passing yard record with 422 passing yards, and the single game touchdown passing record with five.

After separating his shoulder against the Cleveland Browns in 2009, Stafford, against the doctors will, came back into the game and threw a game winning touchdown pass to tight end Brandon Pettigrew as time expired. After a true grit performance like that, Stafford’s toughness and desire to win will never be questioned.

Matthew Stafford has everything you look for in a great quarterback, and has shown the ability to finish games. He is surrounded by play-makers, has a laser rocket arm, is knowledgeable of the offense, and has the mindset to lead the Detroit Lions to the promise land. He is moxy defined.

Stafford has to come out swinging in 2011, it’s imperative that he leads the team to relevancy. The Detroit Lions need him to take that next step.

I need him to take that next step, for sanity sakes.

Stafford is supposed to be the next Peyton Manning, and in all honesty, I think that he could be better.