For the second straight year, Matthew Stafford was voted the 31st best player in the NFL by his peers. The NFL Top 100 of 2018 list is curated by voting from NFL players, and Stafford continues to get a healthy amount of respect from his peers. His 31st ranking remains the best of his career. Here’s a look where he has been ranked since the list began in 2011.
2011: Not ranked
2015: Not ranked
2016: Not ranked
As you can see, the perception of Stafford has changed quite a bit over time, but it appears to have finally settled near the top of the league over the past few years.
Stafford certainly seems to have gained respect around the league, but especially within the division. Check out what some NFC North foes had to say about him during his segment on the countdown.
"He might be a psychic... I'm not sure."— Detroit Lions (@Lions) June 5, 2018
: @nflnetwork | #NFLTop100 pic.twitter.com/3cFda4BzLi
“He knows what we are about to do all the time,” said Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels. “It’s like as soon as he gets the ball in his hands, he just throws to a spot, and then BOOM somebody’s right there, and I’m like, ‘C’mon, what just happened?’ He might be a psychic, I’m not sure.”
Then there’s former Packers cornerback Damarious Randall, who was victimized by Stafford a few times last season.
“Woo, he’s very good,” Randall said. “He actually threw one against me to Marvin Jones that was pretty impressive. I was man-to-man with Marvin, and I started looking back and I was thinking the play was over, thinking he would throw it out of bounds, and then the ball is exactly where I couldn’t get it.”
Darius Slay obviously had to give it up for Stafford, too, seeing as he goes up against the quarterback every practice. Competing against one of the best quarterback talents has its perks, but it also has some significant drawbacks, too.
“He throws that thing hard,” Slay said of Stafford. “Broke one of my fingers. Yeah, right there in practice, broke that thing. Threw that thing so hard, tried a PBU, I’m starting to body-catch everything right now.”
While it’s good to see Stafford finally get some consistent respect from his teammates and peers, it’s also worth noting this list has its fair share of flaws. Take a look at the quarterbacks who have already been named to the list (so far, 100-31 have been revealed).
- 94 - Kirk Cousins
- 90 - Jimmy Garoppolo
- 60 - Derek Carr
- 56 - Philip Rivers
- 51 - Case Keenum
- 50 - Deshaun Watson
- 38 - Jared Goff
As you can see, several players managed to make the list based on one single season. In some cases (Watson, Garoppolo) the hype is based on even less than that.
We’ve seen in Stafford’s case that the list can vary dramatically from year to year. The question is whether Matthew has reached a point in his career where he’s finally been given the benefit of the doubt and will regularly make this list now. With two back-to-back 31st ranked seasons, it looks like that may be true, but Stafford still needs to put in the work.