Sometimes all it takes is one tweet to send NFL twitter into a fury.
That’s all it took this week when Benjamin Solak of The Draft Network tweeted a simple poll: Who is the better quarterback: Matt Ryan or Matthew Stafford?
After the poll traversed through Lions and Falcons Twitter, the dust settled with Stafford earning 56 percent of the vote and Ryan garnering 44 percent. That conclusion led Solak to give his own opinion, clearly disagreeing with the results.
30k votes later and 56% of you are wrong, absolutely hate to see it— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) June 15, 2020
And the conversation didn’t end there. Pro Football Focus threw their hat into the ring, having a roundtable discussion between three analysts on the topic. Two of them, Mike Renner and Kevin Cole, picked Ryan as the easy choice.
“This one is not even a debate for me. It’s Matt Ryan in a heartbeat,” Renner said. “People forget that this guy won an MVP just a few years ago. I know he’s had a lot of talent around him, with Julio Jones for the majority of his career, but his numbers, his stats over the course of his career have outpaced Stafford. To me, he’s far and away the better quarterback.”
Renner does bring up some good points. Ryan has an MVP, four Pro Bowl appearances, an All Pro nod and obviously took Atlanta to the Super Bowl a few years back. Meanwhile, Stafford’s individual accomplishments only include a single Pro Bowl appearance and a Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Additionally, Ryan has had the more consistent career thus far, and just about any stat comparison favors the Falcons quarterback.
Ryan: 65.4 completion percentage, 7.5 yards per attempt, 4.7 TD%, 2.2 INT%, 94.6 passer rating, 6.76 Adjusted Net Yards per pass attempt
Stafford: 62.5 completion percentage, 7.2 yards per attempt, 4.5 TD%, 2.4 INT%, 89.3 passer rating, 6.27 Adjusted Net Yards per pass attempt
But PFF’s Austin Gayle brings up an interesting point. The question is who is the better quarterback, not who has been the better quarterback. If we’re talking recent performances, the answer is not nearly as clear.
“Matthew Stafford is a top-five graded quarterback when not under pressure over the past three years—over 1,100 dropbacks,” Gayle said. “Matt Ryan, on that list, ranks seventh.
“I think there is a debate. I think based off success, traditional stats, the MVP, Matt Ryan might be the better quarterback from a career perspective, but Matt Stafford has been very good over the past three years, specifically from a clean pocket, and just simply hasn’t had the same supporting cast that Matt Ryan has.”
Traditional stats, too, show a much closer battle between these two quarterbacks over the past three seasons. Take a look:
Ryan (2017-19): 66.9 completion percentage, 7.7 yards per attempt, 4.6 TD%, 1.9 INT%, 97.4 passer rating, 6.88 Adjusted Net Yards per pass attempt
Stafford (2017-19): 65.6 completion percentage, 7.6 yards per attempt, 4.9 TD%, 1.8 INT%, 97.0 passer rating, 6.76 Adjusted Net Yards per pass attempt
It will always be tough for Stafford to measure up in these career numbers because of just how bad the Lions were at the beginning of his career—as the franchise tried to pull themselves out of the 0-16 hole created by general manager Matt Millen. Meanwhile, Matt Ryan took over a 9-7 team, has had coaching stability (only two head coaches in his career), a myriad of weapons and at least something resembling a running game for the majority of his career.
The truth is, until the Detroit Lions have some team success, Stafford’s talent will always be questioned both locally and nationally. Here’s to hoping he can put those doubters to bed in 2020.
Now time for you to vote in this extremely unbiased poll:
Who is the better quarterback?
This poll is closed