Friday was the day. It was the day for two big things. First, we had Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn’s end-of-season presser. We haven’t heard from Bob for a while, so the tone of the presser that was expected was not really what I think we wound up getting.
I, like many, expected the GM to come out and lay out the usual statements about how the team failed to do this and that, and how they need to do this and that to get better. Sure, there was some of that on Friday morning, but Quinn took it to another level in front of a hungry Lions media room.
A lot of fans don’t like the fact that they don’t hear from their general manager but once a year. I was one of those fans. Today, I will detract myself from that group. There’s something about not seeing Quinn for a long time and then hearing him speak to the public for nearly an hour that makes think I like this style more.
Yeah, he did talk for nearly an hour—you can watch the full presser here—and in that hour he talked about the Golden Tate trade, what the team needs to fix, Eric Ebron, Matt Patricia, Ezekiel Ansah, free agency so many other topics. But one topic stood out more than any other.
Which brings me to the other big thing: Matthew Stafford and his future with the Detroit Lions.
This question has been posed all season. Hell, it’s been posed for 10 years. Will the Detroit Lions trade Matthew Stafford? This question was asked almost immediately, and just as soon as it was asked, it was answered. Quinn immediately said that “Matthew Stafford is our quarterback. He will be our quarterback here.”
That would have been enough. It really would have. But Quinn spent probably half the presser both praising and defending Stafford. He even contributed to my war against quarterback wins when he said this:
“It’s not just Matthew Stafford. That’s not what this is. We have 53 players on the field, on the team every week. We have 46 that dress. So, just because he’s the quarterback and he touches the ball every play on offense doesn’t mean he gets all the blame.”
That was clearly something that stood out to me since I have such a personal stake in the business of riding the world of this dumb narrative, but that’s not what stuck out the most. What stuck out the most is that there seems to be some emotional connection here.
Not necessarily with just Matthew Stafford and Bob Quinn, but with Stafford and the whole organization. You can really hear and see this every time his name comes up. There’s always someone on staff or a player on the roster that’s willing to come forward and give a glowing comment on this franchise’s quarterback.
We know there’s a connection on a monetary level, but you really saw that emotion come out in Bob Quinn on Friday. And by emotion, I don’t mean love. I guess it’s more like brotherhood. It’s more proof to me that, for better or for worse, everyone has bought in from top to bottom.
I say there’s some emotion there, because you could really see it coming out of Bob in his eagerness to defend Matthew in a way that I can’t say I’ve seen too many GM’s come out and do.
He went on to talk to the media about Stafford always being the first guy in the building and the last guy to leave, helping players from starters on down to practice squad players and how the locker room is fully behind him. Bob did all he could to try to bury the idea that Stafford is not a leader.
“I think in the locker room, in the meeting rooms, on the practice field, this guy holds himself at a very, very high standard, and that resonates with his teammates, that resonates with the staff,” Quinn said.
Here’s the thing, I know there’s going to be a strong contingent of fans that will take the route that this is simply a GM defending a quarterback that he’s stuck with because of his contract. But according to Quinn, “His contract is what it is, we talked about that a couple years ago when we signed it. So, I think that’s truly a non-factor. It is what it is.” Plain and simple. Bob Quinn doesn’t have to stand up for his quarterback, but he did and he does.
Think about that. It’s not like Quinn has anything to gain from defending Stafford as outright as he did. He’s not trying to sell anything. This was just good old-fashioned support for a player that he obviously believes in.
Which brings me to the main point of all of this. The only way Matthew Stafford won’t be the quarterback of the Detroit Lions in the future is because he’s 40 years old and he’s decided to retire. That’s right, Lions fans, you’ve got that kind of quarterback. This is a guy that already had chances to leave. Not only would the team not let it happen, it’s pretty clear by his work in the community that he doesn’t want it to happen either.
It’s time to put to bed the thoughts of the Lions trading him or even the thought of him hitting free agency some day. The Lions have their Dan Marino or John Elway. This dude is going to have to be dragged out of Ford Field kicking and screaming after 20 years of playing.
One has to hope that Stafford’s final NFL outcome can be the same as a John Elway’s was. There’s at least one man in Detroit whose sure that can happen and his name is Bob Quinn. When he was asked if he thinks the Lions can win a Super Bowl with Matthew Stafford, his answer was short and sweet.