FanPost

Why It's Time to Trade Stafford

I love Matthew Stafford. He's got the best hair in the NFC North. He's got a connection with Calvin Johnson that can be described as magical, or several other adjectives. He's as good as Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger when it comes to exciting comebacks, albeit against weaker competition. But unfortunately, Matthew Stafford is not a quarterback we can count on. Unfortunately, with Stafford under shotgun, the Detroit Lions will never win a Super Bowl.

As everyone knows, each year in the NFL any result short of a Super Bowl victory is an unequivocal failure. Winners win, it's that simple. Bring up whatever stats you want, but the only one that matters is the number of rings for despairing Browns fans to kiss. Eli Manning will be inducted into the Hall of Fame before his older, less talented brother is. Trent Dilfer will one day be appreciated not only for his stellar broadcasting career, but also for leading the Ravens to their very first Super Bowl victory. Dan Marino will die of gonorrhea, rot in hell, and go down in history as a fraud whose faults were consistently exposed by the harsh lights of the playoffs.

But what makes a Super Bowl-winning quarterback? It's definitely not his teammates, so we can throw that one out. Nor is it coaching. It has to be something fundamental, something the quarterback was born with, something that destined him to one day lift the Lombardi trophy. Perhaps it's in the blood. Is there a victory gene? I honestly don't know, and until I become qualified to do clinical research on humans, the NFL refuses to speak to me. So let's postpone the genetic analysis for a few years. If we can't examine the qualities a quarterback possessed from before birth, the next best thing is to look at something a quarterback had soon after he was born. After four beers and four minutes of pondering, I figured out the solution.

What's in a Name?

Everyone knows that names are important. A name defines a man. If I had been given a better name, maybe I'd be sipping Glenlivet in the Ritz-Carlton, instead of cowering in my parents' basement. Quarterbacks are affected by names just as much as the rest of us. Could "James Brady" have led the Patriots to five Super Bowls? What about "Ernie Manning"? I don't think so. Here are the first names of the quarterbacks who went to Super Bowls, as well as the results they achieved. Last names were excluded from this study because families have little to no control over last names, and also because I'm lazy.

Name

Wins

Losses

Pct.

Joe

7

2

78%

Terry

4

0

100%

Troy

3

0

100%

Tom

3

2

60%

Jim

3

4

43%

Bart

2

0

100%

Eli

2

0

100%

Ben

2

1

67%

Bob

2

1

67%

Roger

2

2

50%

John

2

3

40%

Aaron

1

0

100%

Brad

1

0

100%

Doug

1

0

100%

Jeff

1

0

100%

Johnny

1

0

100%

Mark

1

0

100%

Phil

1

0

100%

Trent

1

0

100%

Brett

1

1

50%

Drew

1

1

50%

Ken

1

1

50%

Len

1

1

50%

Peyton

1

1

50%

Steve

1

1

50%

Kurt

1

2

33%

Billy

0

1

0%

Boomer

0

1

0%

Chris

0

1

0%

Colin

0

1

0%

Dan

0

1

0%

Daryle

0

1

0%

David

0

1

0%

Donovan

0

1

0%

Earl

0

1

0%

Jake

0

1

0%

Kerry

0

1

0%

Matt

0

1

0%

Neil

0

1

0%

Rex

0

1

0%

Rich

0

1

0%

Ron

0

1

0%

Stan

0

1

0%

Tony

0

1

0%

Vince

0

1

0%

Craig

0

2

0%

Fran

0

3

0%

As the data clearly shows, if you want to win a Super Bowl, you're best off if the man throwing passes goes by the name of "Joe." Five different quarterbacks named "Joe" have been to a Super Bowl. Joe Namath won the most important game in the history of the modern NFL. Joe Flacco put together a stunning postseason performance and earned the Super Bowl MVP trophy. Joe Theismann shined brightly before his career and right leg were cut short by Lawrence Taylor. And of course, Joe Montana, arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, won four Super Bowls, throwing no interceptions in any of them. You may notice that "Joe" does not have a perfect record in Super Bowls. The two losses, however, can be easily explained. Joe Kapp, who played in Super Bowl IV, played for the Minnesota Vikings, whose stink can overpower even a quarterback named "Joe." The other loss was by Joe Theismann when he attempted a repeat. But Theismann had already won before, so it wouldn't be fair to call him a loser because of this. We'll cut him some slack. This season, the Ravens dumped their best receiver, both starting safeties and other good defenders so they could lock up Joe Flacco to an at-the-time biggest contract in NFL history. Many observers saw this as a mistake, but you can't put a price on championships. Joe Flacco won the Ravens a Super Bowl, and that is all that matters.

The Matthew Effect

What about our good friend Matthew Stafford? Does history say whether he'll be a champ or a chump? Unfortunately, evidence points strongly towards the latter. Only one quarterback named "Matt" has made it to a Super Bowl, and Matt Hasselbeck and his Seahacks were humiliated in the big game. "Big deal," you might say. "Plenty of names failed in their first attempt but succeeded later. This is the definition of a poorly thought-out study with a stupidly small sample size." To that I say: There's only one sample that matters, and that's the Super Bowl. Right now, "Matt" is a PROVEN loser. Sure, it could turn it around, like "Drew" or "Len." But it could also be the next "Craig" or "Fran." Do you want to take that risk? If you do, I have some swampland in Brooklyn to sell to you.

Also, not to rub it in, but "Matt" does in fact have a statistically significant sample size. In 2011, as some commentators noted, six of the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL were named "Matt", but none of the 26 other starters had the same first name. What happened to those quarterbacks? Three of them aren't even starters anymore. Matt Cassel and Matt Moore led their teams to embarrassing losing records and got their coaches fired mid-season. Matt Hasselbeck missed the playoffs. Matt Ryan's offense didn't score a single point in its only playoff game. Matt Schaub lost to the Ravens in the divisional round. And our very own Matthew Stafford put up the highest QBR in a losing game since 2008 in his lone playoff match against the Saints, but the important point is that he still LOST the game and FAILED as a leader of his team. "Matt" is a dud name. A quarterback named "Matt" will go NOWHERE in the NFL.

If you think my assessment is harsh, you could say that "Matt" has at least made it to a Super Bowl before. More common names like "Michael" or "Paul" have never been featured in America's biggest game. If you would be satisfied with LOSING the most important game of your life, then you can take solace in that fact. Me, I think it's time to stop being losers.

What Now?

It should be clear by now that Matthew Stafford is not the Lions' answer at quarterback. We need to find another one. But whom shall we get? Could we roll with another quarterback on our roster? "Shaun" hasn't been tested by the Super Bowl yet, and I doubt that ANY quarterback has been called "Kellen" before. But would you want to risk it? There is no such thing as luck in the NFL. Winners win, and losers lose. Let some other team figure out if an unproven name is a loser or a winner.

If the Lions' quarterback of the future isn't on our roster, could he be on another team's? Ideally, we could find a "Joe", but there's only one quarterback in the NFL with that name, and he's spending his millions at the many McDonald's of Baltimore. Drew Stanton could have been an option, but the way the Cardinals' offensive line has played suggests that he could be starting very soon. Arizona would be foolish to part with him. Other proven names are locked up, and the quarterbacks teams might be willing to part with all have the names of failures. Perhaps the general awfulness of the AFC is attributable to the uninspiring names of its signal callers. Regardless, the NFL is currently barren of proven, available quarterback talent.

Our only option is the draft. The Lions have played just two games this year, but they'll be good enough to drop out of the top 10 in the 2014 Draft, which creates a dilemma for us. How can we snag a good signal caller if several other teams will also be looking for one? The answer lies with our neighbors to the south. It's clear that the Cleveland Browns have given up on the Brandon Weeden experiment. Since they returned to the league, their best quarterback ever is still the execrable Tim Couch. The Browns will be terrible this year, and they will be desperate for a real quarterback. Why don't we ship Stafford down to Cleveland in exchange for their sure-to-be-top-five draft pick? Armed with that, we can choose the signal caller that will finally lead the Lions to the top of the NFL food chain.

There are plenty of promising names in next year's draft class. Brett Hundley could continue the proud tradition of Favre. Aaron Murray could be our answer to Green Bay. If the football gods are nearsighted, we could try to sneak Teddy Bridgewater in as a "Terry," although that's risky. But why settle for silver? We should be drafting the best quarterback possible. Brett Favre lost HALF of the Super Bowls he played. Aaron Rodgers has only won ONE, and in his last two seasons was unceremoniously dumped from the playoffs like a rotten banana. No, we should look for a quarterback with the pedigree of two of the greatest players of all time. One was a Super Bowl-champion, three-time MVP, and held the record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass for 52 years. The other is one of the most clutch performers of all time, only losing three Super Bowls and winning two. I am speaking, of course, about Johnny Unitas and John Elway.

If you've been following, then you know that there is only one option at quarterback for the Lions next year. In the 2014 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions must draft Johnny Manziel. We shall follow Johnny Football's autograph-signing arm to victory after victory, culminating in a triumphant win in Super Bowl XLIX. At last, our long nightmare will be over.

Johnny-football-two-girls-bikinis1_medium

via usatthebiglead.files.wordpress.com

God bless the Detroit Lions.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.

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