Matthew Stafford needed just one season in Los Angeles to prove himself worthy of adulation from the rest of the NFL.
In the NFL 100 list voted on by players leaguewide to determine the top 100 players, the Los Angeles Rams quarterback was ranked No. 27. It was his first time appearing in the NFL 100 since 2018 when he was ranked No. 31.
The NFL revealed players ranked 21st to 30th on Sunday on NFL Network:
21. Joe Burrow, QB, CIN
22. George Kittle, TE, SF
23. Trevon Diggs, CB, DAL
24. Ja'Marr Chase, WR, CIN
25. Nick Bosa, DE, SF
26. Stefon Diggs, WR, BUF
27. Matthew Stafford, QB, LAR
28. Quenton Nelson, G, IND
29. Bobby Wagner, LB, LAR
30. Joey Bosa, DE, LAC
The Rams acquired Stafford in a blockbuster trade with the Detroit Lions last offseason. The deal paid dividends for Los Angeles, as he led the team to a 12-5 record and its second Super Bowl victory in franchise history.
Stafford seamlessly fit into the Rams offense, developing chemistry with head coach Sean McVay that created a well-oiled machine. The 34-year-old was second in the NFL with 41 passing touchdowns and third with 4,886 yards through the air.
His biggest moment came in Super Bowl LVI against the Cincinnati Bengals when he found receiver Cooper Kupp late in the fourth quarter for the game-winning touchdown.
After a spectacular debut season with the team, Stafford was rewarded with a four-year, $160 million contract extension. The Rams retained most of the core from last year's championship-winning team, giving Stafford and company a strong chance at defending their crown.
Joining Stafford was his counterpart in the Super Bowl, Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow. The 25-year-old made his debut in the NFL 100 at No. 21 after his breakout 2021 season.
Coming back from a torn ACL and MCL that prematurely ended his rookie season, Burrow returned to the form that led the Bengals to draft him No. 1 overall out of LSU in 2020. He led the league with a 70.4 completion percentage while throwing for 4,611 yards and 34 touchdowns.
Where will <a href="https://twitter.com/KiDCuDi?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KiDCuDi</a>'s favorite QB <a href="https://twitter.com/JoeyB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JoeyB</a> be ranked in the NFL Top 100?<br><br>We find out the first half of the rankings tonight. 👀<br><br>📺: NFL Top 100, #100 - #51 -- 8pm ET on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@nflnetwork</a> <a href="https://t.co/QnPJyt8TWa">pic.twitter.com/QnPJyt8TWa</a>
Burrow powered Cincinnati on a surprising run to Super Bowl LVI, and despite falling short, the team established itself as a contender in the AFC. Heading into the 2022 season, Burrow expects to pick up right where he left off. It helps that his favorite target is also a member of the NFL 100.
Another player who needed just one season to earn the respect of his peers was Bengals receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who debuted in the NFL 100 at No. 24.
The reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year made an immediate impact in his first season in the league. Reunited with Burrow, his quarterback at LSU, Chase quickly emerged as the Bengals' No. 1 option on the outside.
The 22-year-old set a franchise record with 1,455 yards last season to go with 81 catches and 13 touchdowns. His 266 yards in Week 17 against the Kansas City Chiefs set an NFL record for receiving yards in a single game by a rookie.
During Cincinnati's run to Super Bowl LVI, Chase notched 368 receiving yards to set an NFL record for postseason receiving yards by a rookie. Chase will undoubtedly remain a significant part of the Bengals offense in 2022.