While Matthew Stafford’s return to Detroit has dominated early headlines for the Detroit Lions vs. Los Angeles Rams Wild Card matchup this Sunday, Jared Goff is certainly at the center of the proverbial stage as well. His time with the Rams came to an abrupt and painful end when LA decided it was time to make a big investment in upgrading the quarterback by trading Goff and a pair of first-round picks (and more) for Stafford. While Goff already had his return to LA in a regular season matchup in 2021, one would think the heightened stakes of a playoff game may make this one more meaningful.
However, the Lions quarterback downplayed the significance of any sort of “revenge” this week, instead focusing on the potential of delivering a huge moment in Detroit’s franchise history, seeing as they have only won a single playoff game in the Super Bowl era.
“I so badly want to win a game for this city, win a playoff game for this city that hasn’t had one in so long,” Goff said. “We’ve got a home playoff game for the first time in so long. That’s so much more important than anything personally for me. I want to be a part of this win.”
Goff got closure from his time in LA by insisting on an exit interview with Rams coach Sean McVay after he was traded to Detroit. Many quarterbacks likely would have moved on and focused on what was ahead, but the veteran passer wanted to make sure he understood why the Rams had made the decision they did.
“He wanted the full breakdown of why,” former Rams offense tackle Andrew Whitworth told the LA Times in a 2023 piece. “I thought that really showed his toughness.”
Now, Goff appears to hold no ill will toward McVay. When asked on Wednesday where his relationship with McVay currently lies, Goff said their relationship was fine.
“Sean and I are good,” Goff said. “I think he’s a great coach. Obviously, we had our differences there at the end, but he’s a great coach, he’s done a lot of great things, and he’s a guy that taught me a lot.”
The way Goff talks makes it sound like he’s put his past behind him long ago. When he landed in Detroit, he always expressed intrigue about the idea of building a program from the ground up. That was something he had experience with at Cal, going 1-11 his first year as a starter, and eventually getting the program to 8-5 his final college season—the team’s best season record in six seasons (and they’ve only matched that win total once since Goff left).
Now near the pinnacle of a similar journey in Detroit, Goff is hoping to deliver again.
“It’s exciting. It’s been a goal of mine since I got here. Seeing the opportunity to be a part of something that’s from the ground up,” Goff said. “To be able to be where we’re standing right now and have a chance to win the Super Bowl is pretty exciting. We’ve got a long way to go, and the Rams are the first team in our way, and we’ve got to handle business.”