No one outside of the man himself knows what’s ahead for Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford—and even he may not know at this point. On Sunday, Stafford completed his 12th season, and 165th game, as the Lions quarterback. With a new general manager and head coach on the way in 2021, Stafford could still be here next season. He could be traded away. Hell, he could even decide to retire.
With all those possibilities in the ether, it makes this mic’d up segment with Stafford in the season finale against the Minnesota Vikings all the more powerful. It starts off with a jacked-up Stafford ready and eager to compete one last time for the 2020 season, as he cracks jokes about assistant coach Ty Warren, ribs David Blough for taking too many reps from him (“I almost killed you”), and makes predictions with the refs about the coin toss.
But as the video got closer to the end, things got noticeably more emotional, as the end of the 2020 season got nearer and nearer. Check it out:
This video is likely to be dissected by many, looking for signs that Stafford had played his last game as a Lion. And the signs are certainly there. Towards the end of the game, you see a series of clips of Stafford looking some players in the eyes and giving them a long embrace.
First, there’s his interaction with interim head coach Darrell Bevell.
“I freakin’ love you, man,” Bevell says first.
“I love you too, man,” Stafford responds. “Appreciate you. You did a hell of a job, man. Big time.”
Then, there’s the close embrace with Marvin Jones Jr. With both of their futures in Detroit in doubt, it certainly feels like the two are enjoying a “last-time” moment.
Jones: “Appreciate you, man.
Stafford: “No doubt, man.”
Jones: “It’s all good, man.”
Stafford: “You were ballin’.”
Jones: “Man, I love you, bro. That was fun.”
Stafford: “That was fun.”
Jones: “Classic 9-1-1.”
Stafford: “No shit. I loved it.”
Finally, he turns to Taylor Decker—who’s future with the team is set—and gives him a long, serious look.
“Hey, big guy. I appreciate you, man.”
“I love you, man,” Decker responds.
“Appreciate you big time. Love you, too, man.”
Of course, we’re not typically privy to mic’d up interactions in Week 17. This is the end of the season. Perhaps these kind of conversations are commonplace, seeing as the team won’t be playing together against for eight months. Still, it’s hard not to read into this conversations as something more.
If this is the last mic’d up segment we ever get with Matthew Stafford in a Lions uniform, it was a pretty damn good one to go out on.