Matthew Stafford Left the Lions After More Than a Decade Because It Was Just Time


Jan. 15 2024, Published 10:52 a.m. ET

Matthew Stafford playing for the Lions.
Source: Getty Images

Even though the team has had many great players over the years, the Detroit Lions have had incredibly limited success in the playoffs. The team has only won two playoff games in the last 65 years, including their Jan. 14 win against the Los Angeles Rams in a nail-biter.

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That game was also a battle between two quarterbacks who, just a few years back, had been traded to new franchises. The Lions received Jared Goff and several other picks in exchange for Matthew Stafford, who had been the Lions' quarterback fore more than a decade. Now, many want to know why Matthew Stafford left the Lions.

Jared Goff after the Lions victory agains the Rams.
Source: Getty Images
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Why did Matthew Stafford leave the Lions?

Although everyone agreed that Matthew Stafford was a pretty good quarterback for the Lions throughout his time with the team, the team had not been hugely successful during his tenure with the organization. The team made just three playoff appearances during Matthew's Stafford, although he does remain the franchise leader across a number of quarterback statistics.

In 2020, the team went 5-11, and the team decided to bring in Dan Campbell as its new head coach and Brad Holmes as its general manager, ushering in a new era for the franchise. Reports suggest that once those changes had been made, leadership and Matthew came to a mutual understanding that this was the right time for them to part ways. The Lions traded Matthew to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Jared Goff, a third-round pick, and two first-round picks.

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That trade paid off immediately for Matthew and the Rams, as they went on to beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl the next year 23-20, and Matthew had an extraordinary year, throwing for almost 5,000 yards. Detroit's half of the trade has taken longer to pay off, but following their win against the Rams, it seems like Detroit may be on a path to greater levels of success than the team has seen in their decades.

Source: YouTube
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Lions fans have waited a long time for success.

Although Matthew had been a good to great quarterback throughout his time with the team, the team could never find any playoff success with him as their starting quarterback. While most analysts agree that Matthew is better than Jared Goff, the team may be better with Jared than it ever was with Matthew, allowing for a playoff victory and a level of success that Matthew's iterations of the team never experienced.

Lions fans have waited longer than almost any other franchise to have even a smidge of success in the postseason. While there are plenty of fans who are starved for postseason success, the Lions fans are certainly among the hungriest, having experienced just two playoff wins in the past 65 years, and no Super Bowls or even Super Bowl appearances in that time. Now, they're hoping that Jared Goff and Dan Campbell can be the answer to their prayers.

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