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Matthew Stafford vs. All active quarterbacks

Seeing how Matthew Stafford stacks up against all active QB’s.

NFL: Detroit Lions-Minicamp Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Last week we concluded our Matthew Stafford vs. The Greats series with a comparison between Stafford and Joe Montana. It was a fun series that taught us all kinds of lessons.

For example, like Montana, Matthew Stafford is the new comeback kid.

Stafford and Peyton Manning share similar career path, Stafford and Marino’s stats are similar, Matthew Stafford is somehow related to Brett Favre, and I aim to prove it. And Tom Brady lives on another planet where Matthew Stafford isn’t allowed to live.

This series generated a lot of great comments, such as the one that suggested Matthew Stafford could be as good as Dan Marino if he got more movie roles.

But the comments that really interested me were the ones where football fans seemed to urn for more of this series. And to be honest, I wasn’t too sure I wanted to be done with it either.

But then I went to Jamaica. And while I was there, I had a lot of time to figure out how I wanted to proceed with this. And it was right about this moment here, that I figured it out.

What if I compared Matthew Stafford to every active starter currently in the NFL? What would we find? Is Stafford like any other active guy? Or are there young guys that are like Stafford? Let’s find out.

So here’s how we’ll do this. First, we’ll lay out the career stats of everyone and try to find some similarities. Then we’ll compare Stafford to all other quarterbacks in the league that have played eight or more seasons. Let’s see what we can find.

The Stats vs. AFC

Stafford vs. AFC (Career)

Quarterback Completions Attempts Comp % Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Rate
Quarterback Completions Attempts Comp % Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Rate
Matthew Stafford 2,634 4,285 61.5 30,303 187 108 86.8
Tom Brady 5,244 8,224 63.8 61,582 456 152 97.2
Ryan Tannehill 1,653 2,637 62.7 18,455 106 66 86.5
Tyrod Taylor 530 851 61.7 6,257 37 14 92.3
Josh McCown 1,254 2,121 59.1 14,242 79 69 78.2
Alex Smith 2,536 4,108 61.7 27,846 157 91 85.3
Derek Carr 1,055 1,732 60.9 11,194 81 31 87.9
Trevor Siemian 289 486 59.5 3,401 18 10 84.6
Philip Rivers 3,811 5,917 64.4 45,833 314 156 94.7
Ben Roethlisberger 3,804 5,932 64.1 46,814 301 160 94.1
Joe Flacco 2,915 4,742 61.5 32,639 182 117 84.5
Andy Dalton 1,920 3,060 62.7 22,214 142 81 89.1
Brock Osweiler 488 815 59.9 5,083 26 22 72.2
Tom Savage 56 92 60.9 588 0 1 74.9
Marcus Mariota 506 821 61.6 6,244 45 19 93.8
Andrew Luck 1,570 2,651 59.2 19,078 132 68 87.3
Blake Bortles 1,003 1,706 58.8 11,241 69 51 79.6

So the first two quarterbacks that have to stand out are the the two that we’ve just so happened to already have comparison articles on already. A few weeks back when the NFL Network speculated that Matthew Stafford is better than Ben Roethlisberger, we put together our own research on the subject. And before the 2016 season, I thought that Matthew Stafford and Andrew Luck were one in the same. Now I know Stafford is just plain better.

But who sticks out the most here is Joe Flacco. Joe has been in the NFL just one more season than Stafford and yet their stats look identical. Stafford is also prone to same “is he elite?” question that surrounded Flacco for so many years. One has to wonder if Stafford’s team has to win the Super Bowl before he can carry that tag?

I personally would place Stafford above Flacco in most cases. I don’t think I’m alone on that one, but I guess we’ll see once the comment section opens up. As for the younger guys that look like Stafford, Derek Carr is the one that immediately comes to mind. This kid is going to break records providing his leg injury hasn’t ruined him.

Also, whenever I look at Brock Osweiler’s stats and play, I’m reminded of this tweet and I laugh.

Stafford vs. NFC

Stafford vs. NFC (career)

Quarterback Completions Attempts Comp % Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Rate
Quarterback Completions Attempts Comp % Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Rate
Matthew Stafford 2,634 4,285 61.5 30,303 187 108 86.8
Aaron Rodgers 3,034 4,657 65.1 36,827 297 72 104.1
Mike Glennon 374 630 59 4,100 30 15 84.6
Sam Bradford 1,773 2,844 62.3 18,667 98 57 84.5
Dak Prescott 311 459 67.8 3,667 23 4 104.9
Kirk Cousins 1,025 1,556 65.9 12,113 72 42 93.6
Eli Manning 4,072 6,825 59.7 48,218 320 215 83.7
Carson Wentz 379 607 62.4 3,782 16 14 79.3
Russell Wilson 1,476 2,281 64.7 18.193 127 45 99.6
Carson Palmer 3,777 6,040 62.5 44,269 285 180 88
Jared Goff 112 205 54.6 1,089 5 7 63.6
Brian Hoyer 714 1,119 59.5 8,608 44 26 84.8
Matt Ryan 3,288 5,064 64.9 37,701 240 114 93.6
Cam Newton 1,710 2,928 58.4 21,772 137 78 86.1
Drew Brees 5,386 8,758 66.6 66,111 465 220 96.3
Jameis Winston 657 1,102 59.6 8,132 50 33 85.2

Here are the first things I noticed: Cam Newton isn’t that good, it’s still weird to write in Mike Glennon as a starter, and WOW Brian Hoyer still has a job. Finally, I’m not buying Dak Prescott off of just his rookie year.

What really sticks out is that Matthew Stafford appears to be right at home with the best of the NFC... outside of Aaron Rodgers, that is. If I had to make any comparison off of this portion, it would have to be Carson Palmer, which really surprises me. But it makes a lot of sense when you consider everything.

They both are former No. 1 picks that turned around fledgling franchises with high octane offensive play consisting of far above average wide receivers. And both have a pension for being above average terrible when they have a off day. There’s a lot alike here. I’d still go with Stafford in the fourth though.

So now we have our ideas based off everyone. Now let’s separate the old guys from the pack.

Stafford vs. the old guys/peers

Stafford vs. the old guys/peers (First 8 years of career)

Quarterback Completions Attempts Comp % Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Rate
Quarterback Completions Attempts Comp % Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Rate
Matthew Stafford 2,634 4,285 61.5 30,303 187 108 86.8
Aaron Rodgers 1,752 2,665 65.7 21,661 171 46 104.9
Tom Brady 2,294 3,642 63 26,370 197 86 92.9
Drew Brees 2,334 3,650 63.9 26,258 168 99 89.4
Eli Manning 2,291 3,921 58.4 27,579 185 129 82.1
Joe Flacco 2,479 4,070 60.9 28,322 162 102 84.7
Matt Ryan 2,915 4,530 64.3 32,757 202 107 90.9
Ben Roethlisberger 2,090 3,313 63.1 26,579 165 100 92.1
Philip Rivers 1,930 3,037 63.5 24,285 163 78 95.5
Alex Smith 1,290 2,177 59.3 14,280 81 63 79.1
Josh McCown 610 1,058 57.7 6,584 35 40 71.3
Brian Hoyer 714 1,119 59.5 8,608 44 26 84.8
Carson Palmer 2,223 3,545 62.7 25,447 167 116 86.3

What I gleam from this is entirely different but makes total sense. Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees are two peas in a pod. Drew is just the only one of the two that’s escaped this pod and won a Super Bowl.

It’s all there, big arms and everything. Drew Brees is likely to break Peyton Manning’s career passing yard mark if he sticks around, and Stafford will likely break Brees record someday if he sticks around that long. Both are two of only five quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards in a single season. Although Brees has done it five times and Stafford will probably never do it again.

Most of the time we look at Stafford vs. Rodgers and go with that as Stafford’s biggest rival of all time, but I think it’s Drew Brees. The Lions have played the Saints six times since Stafford’s arrival, and that rivalry is at 3-3 currently. The Lions will play the Saints this coming October at the Superdome. The tie will be broken.


If I were to build a mechanical Matthew Stafford and had to steal body parts or traits from quarterbacks currently in the league to match Stafford’s, this is what I would do.

I would take Drew Brees arm. Brees has that same strength and ability to wing the pig just like Stafford does. Although it would be hard to catch him because he’s not ever willing to be tackled.

Speaking of that, I’d give him Ben Roethlisberger’s mobility. Both quarterbacks are the same when it comes to getting out of the pocket and making throws that they probably shouldn’t make. You know, the across the body off the back foot sort of thing.

I’d take Carson Palmer’s brain. I believe these two players think a lot alike. They’re the quarterbacks that do too much at times, or not enough at others. Either way, they’re both capable of some great things when they’re on.

The one thing I wouldn’t be able to get is Matthew Stafford’s ability to get hot when it’s needed the most: In the fourth quarter. I’ve mentioned it before, Stafford is like the Undertaker at Wrestlemania when it comes to the fourth quarter. Nobody can touch him, and there’s no other quarterback in the NFL that is like him in this regard.


At the end of the day, what you have to come to realize is that Matthew Stafford is right at home in the elite conversation. He may just have his toes in the pool right now, but in the coming years, he’ll be cannon balling in when he’s the NFL’s resident elite veteran.

That doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have much to prove. But at 29, he’s about right where you want him to be, if not a bit farther. Only time will tell on Matthew. One thing is for sure, though, Stafford is about to make more money than all these guys.

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