HomeFootball DirtBeautiful End to Playoff Drought as The Team Wins Over Matthew Stafford

Beautiful End to Playoff Drought as The Team Wins Over Matthew Stafford

Published on

spot_img

Matthew Stafford was supposed to be the Detroit Lions’ savior.

The former No. 1 overall pick was the franchise quarterback destined to take the once bottom-feeding Lions back to the promised land. A beloved team legend, Stafford was good, perhaps great, but he couldn’t perform miracles. The Lions acknowledged this unfortunate reality when they traded him to the Los Angeles Rams in 2021. They were vindicated when he won a Super Bowl championship with a supporting cast befitting his unique abilities.

One question remained: when was the Lions’ turn at glory? And when would they see Stafford again? Sunday night’s raucous Lions’ Wild Card victory had a poetic way of answering both burning questions in one fell swoop.

Sunday presented the Lions with only their second playoff victory since the fall of the Soviet Union. The last time they featured on the second weekend of the NFL postseason, Arnold Schwarzenegger had not yet saved Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong from Robert Patrick’s menacing T-1000 Terminator. With the unsurprising demise of the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit is now guaranteed a second game at home this postseason. It could very well make a legitimate run to this year’s NFC title game. Once unthinkable to any average NFL observer (heck, especially Detroit fans), the Lions have become a powerhouse.

But until Sunday evening, they didn’t have a signature moment.

Enter Stafford in his return to Ford Field. Enter the man who got “it” done … but for another NFL team. Enter perhaps the most mythical figure in Lions’ franchise history, the one the organization itself let down at almost every turn. The one who got away. If Dan Campbell’s revitalized Lions couldn’t beat Stafford in his return to the Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie strait, this franchise would never get the playoff win monkey back off its back. Full stop. The Lions would forever be a joke, a sad-sack organization forced to relive its January horrors through an endless circle of torment on a loop.

Don’t you love it when everything comes full circle?

The Lions did not fall victim to Stafford’s trademark brilliance. They did not let him enter Detroit and spoil the biggest pro football party the great state of Michigan has thrown in over three decades. No, no, no. They beat Stafford even after watching him get bruised and battered and launch dime after dime in an ultimately fruitless effort that wasn’t enough to lift his new team to a win. Sound familiar? In a way, it had to be comforting for Lions fans to finally be on the winning end of a futile superhero performance from Stafford in their home stadium.

This sort of breakthrough moment over Stafford would always be the clearest sign the Lions had arrived. It was always going to taste the sweetest, too. While the comparisons aren’t apples to apples, the Lions reaching long-awaited prominence by overcoming Stafford is the equivalent of the Oklahoma City Thunder toppling Kevin Durant in a playoff series. It’d be like the Toronto Maple Leafs sending Phil Kessel home in the postseason. Really, any professional sports icon who couldn’t quite finish the job for the team and city that embraced them wholeheartedly applies to this new Lions-Stafford dynamic.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say someone penned this script for the Lions in Hollywood. The Lions putting themselves on the doorstep of an NFC Championship Game appearance by conquering the finest quarterback in team history sounds sillier every time it crosses my mind. But that’s what happened. The Lions changed a decades-long narrative of misery by surviving Matthew Stafford.

I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

So, when’s the Lions’ turn at glory? It’s probably now. Right now, as they prepare for a date in the NFL’s quarterfinals. They’ve cemented themselves as a force to be reckoned with by using Stafford, of all people, as a stepping stone.

Stafford was the Lions’ savior, but Sunday night was definitive proof they could finally stand on their own two legs. The football gods couldn’t have written a better epic if they tried.

Latest articles

Why athletes choose to wear them instead of helmets

Welcome to FTW Explains, a guide...

New Addition to Saints Staff: Dave Ziegler Joins Team

Brought in to advise the Saints before the draft, Dave Ziegler has secured a...

Alvin Kamara Discusses Contract Negotiations

Being the NFL's standard bearers for organizational restructure for years, the Saints have not...

Quarterback Updates: Tua Tagovailoa, Aaron Rodgers, JT Daniels, and the Pittsburgh Steelers

Tua Tagovailoa is standing out by not holding in, distinguishing himself from the Dolphins'...

More like this

Why athletes choose to wear them instead of helmets

Welcome to FTW Explains, a guide...

New Addition to Saints Staff: Dave Ziegler Joins Team

Brought in to advise the Saints before the draft, Dave Ziegler has secured a...

Alvin Kamara Discusses Contract Negotiations

Being the NFL's standard bearers for organizational restructure for years, the Saints have not...