Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford was having arguably his best season last year before some back problems ended it prematurely. Here are Stafford’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year as well as the Lions’ over/under win total.
Stafford was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft by the Lions out of the University of Georgia. He eventually became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 5,000 yards in a single season, one of three players to do it in 2011, and is the fastest player in NFL history to reach 40,000 yards in (147 games). Stafford also holds the NFL record for the most comeback wins in a season, recording eight in the 2016 NFL season.
In 2017, he signed a $135 million contract extension with the Lions, making him the highest-paid player in NFL history at the time. He has been worth it? Not really. Good player but the Lions haven’t won a playoff game under him – they are the only NFC franchise to never play in a Super Bowl.
Still only 32, Stafford has thrown for more than 41,000 yards in his career, with 256 touchdown passes — already 18th and 19th, respectively, on the all-time list. The knock continues to be that he doesn’t win. His career record is 69-79-1.
“Disrespected throughout his career,” former NFL quarterback and NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms said of Stafford. “It drives me crazy. One of the greatest arms and throwers in the history of the sport. He doesn’t get a lot of credit for that because he’s in the same division as the guy with the greatest arm in the history of the sport, in my opinion, in Aaron Rodgers.”
Stafford was off to a very good start last year. In eight games, he had thrown for 2,499 yards, 19 touchdowns and five interceptions. At the time of his injury, Stafford ranked second in touchdown passes, fourth in yards per attempt, fifth in passer rating, third in DYAR, fifth in DVOA, and seventh in total QBR. He was on pace to throw for 4,998 yards and 38 TDs. Freed from the constraints of the Jim Bob Cooter offensive system that focused more on short passes and playing in a Darrell Bevell system that allowed him to use his arm talent to throw downfield, Stafford thrived.
But Stafford suffered back fractures on Nov. 3 at Oakland and him sitting against Chicago on Nov. 10 ended a streak of 136 straight starts for Stafford dating to the end of the 2010 season. He wouldn’t play again in 2019.
There were some rumors this offseason that Stafford perhaps wanted to be traded and he put his house in the Detroit area up for sale — the 32-year-old has split his time training between California and Georgia this offseason. However, those rumors have died down.
“I really don’t pay too much attention to ’em,” Stafford said of the rumors. “I pay less attention to them than my wife does. But it’s something that doesn’t bother me. I’m here. I want to be here. I love being a Detroit Lion. I love leading this team.
Lions GM Bob Quinn said Stafford has been medically cleared.
“Matthew’s doing great,” Quinn said. “He calls probably once a week. I know he’s working out. Health-wise he’s good to go. He’s cleared medically.” Quinn also said Stafford would be “full go” for training camp.
The Lions open Sept. 13 at home against Chicago with Detroit a very short favorite. Stafford missed both Bears games last year. He is looking forward to Year 2 in Bevell’s offense.
“It doesn’t hurt to be in a second year of an offense and not try to learn something new and try to be a rookie quarterback or second-year guy coming in,” Stafford said. “Definitely, I feel like it’s a positive for us as a team and for myself.”