Matthew Stafford on Rams Trade: I Wanted Deal to Team 'Ready to Win' Super BowlFebruary 14, 2021
Matthew Stafford, 33, has never advanced past the first round of the playoffs, so it should come as no surprise he wanted to win wherever the Detroit Lions traded him.
He expressed his appreciation that the only NFL team he has ever known dealt him to a contender in the Los Angeles Rams.
"What's accurate is—and this is an incredible thing by [the Lions]—I asked to go to a team that was ready to win a championship," Stafford said in an interview with Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press (h/t Adam Maya of NFL.com). "And, you know, there were a few teams on that list. There were a few teams that were not on that list. And they were respectful of that and understood completely. I had thoughts and reasons for each one of them."
The Lions made the playoffs just three times since they selected Stafford out of Georgia with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2009 NFL draft.
There has been no questioning his production with eight seasons of more than 4,000 passing yards, but it didn't translate to postseason success. While his tendency to make mistakes, as evidenced by his 10 seasons with double-digit interceptions, was at least partially to blame, there was never a ton of talent around him on the roster, either.
That is especially true after Calvin Johnson retired following the 2015 season.
A strong supporting cast shouldn't be a problem for the Rams, who made the playoffs at 10-6 in 2020 and proceeded to defeat the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wild Card Round before losing to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round.
The Rams led the league in points and yards allowed with the best defense in the NFL spearheaded by Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. More offensive production with Jared Goff at quarterback could have helped Los Angeles reach the Super Bowl, and Stafford will look to provide that.
He also has two go-to wide receivers in Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, as well as running back Cam Akers looking to turn the corner into stardom during his second season.
Stafford got his wish with the trade to the Rams.