Detroit Lions: Quarterback Matthew Stafford Is the Lion King

Katie DayCorrespondent IDecember 19, 2011

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 11:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions drops back to pass during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on December 11, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Vikings 34-28.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Matthew Stafford has quietly been having one of the best seasons by a Detroit Lions quarterback. 

For the first time in his career, Stafford has been playing a full season and he's showing everyone that coach Jim Schwartz made the right decision to draft him in 2009. By golly, he is one of the best Lions quarterbacks in franchise history.

He recently became the second-youngest player at 23 years of age in NFL history to reach 4,000 passing yards—the first being Dan Marino—and 30 TDs in a single season.

He is now the third Lions quarterback in history to have 4,000 passing yards, lining up along with Scott Mitchell and Jon Kitna. Currently, Stafford has thrown for 4,145 yards and at the rate he is going he will break the Lions' record for most passing yards in a season, which is held at 4,338 yards.

He also has the most touchdown passes in a season by a Lions quarterback.

Lions fans should rejoice. We have the quarterback we've been waiting for since Bobby Layne and there is no doubt that Stafford will surpass him.

It's only his third year and he's already overcome so much adversity.

He's overcome injuries that had put him on the sidelines his first two years. During his rookie season, he only played 10 games. In his second year, he was knocked out in his first game and only played in two more games later that year before re-injuring his shoulder, forcing him to sit out the remaining of the season. In his first two years, he only played 13 games. He had yet to play a full season.

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 13:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions looks for a receiver against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 37-13.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Then the doubters and critics came in. Even some Lions fans turned against him. They started calling him injury-prone and brittle. They didn't believe he'd be able to stay on the field. Some wanted a new quarterback.

When Stafford started this 2011 season, people kept flinching and wincing every time he got hit. They kept questioning his stability. 

Boy, did Stafford prove them all wrong and he did it with style. He entered the season with high expectations and he is close to taking the Lions to their first playoff appearance since 1999. He led them to their first winning season since 2000. 

He became the first NFL quarterback to lead his team back from trailing from 13 or more points in four games in a single season. He's almost the equivalent of John Elway and The Drive. Perhaps even better.

In his last game against the Raiders, they were trailing 14 to 20 with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter before Stafford fumbled the ball on his own 14-yard line letting the Raiders score a touchdown. Trailing by 13 points, Stafford answered. With amazing help, he drove the Lions to take the lead over Oakland, 28-27 with 39 seconds left. 

He's breaking Lions history. He's breaking NFL history.

Green Bay, you can have Aaron Rodgers. Denver, keep your comeback Tim Tebow. New England, hold onto Tom Brady. New Orleans, you can keep Drew Brees.

Detroit has Matthew Stafford and we don't want him going anywhere.

With him lining up behind Calvin Johnson and his offense, he'll be leading the Lions to their first Super Bowl appearance either this year or the next (or the next) but he'll do it.

He will go down in history—at least in this decade—as the best Detroit Lions quarterback their franchise has ever seen.

The Detroit Lions were named so back then because their owner, George Richards wanted them to be the monarch of the NFL like they were the monarch of the jungle. These Lions are already on their way to becoming the monarch of the NFL and Matthew Stafford is their Lion King.