For all the criticism levied at Michael Jordan’s postseason legacy, his career in Chicago was far from a failure. In fact, it is largely forgotten that he led the Bulls to three consecutive titles during this stretch and posted regular season averages of 30-6-5 with six straight 40+ point games. These are among some of MJ’s most impressive stats ever seen by anyone other than himself.

The “you found parts of me i didn’t know existed meaning” is a phrase that has been used in the past. It means that you have found something new about someone and it made you realize how much they meant to you.

'I Did Not Know This Guy Existed'

Matthew Stafford was a very skilled quarterback who had never won a game in a crucial situation until Sunday evening. That narrative has shifted when the Los Angeles Rams defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the 2021 NFC Championship game to go to the Super Bowl. NFL legends like Marshall Faulk were taken aback by this new Stafford narrative. It also causes us to reconsider the career of the signal-caller.

This season, Matthew Stafford needed to alter the narrative around him.

You get the message even if you don’t know the actual numbers around Matthew Stafford’s NFL career.

Before playing an NFL snap, the Detroit Lions picked Stafford No. 1 overall out of Georgia in 2009, before the rookie salary scale was implemented, and offered him a $72 million deal. Stafford went 74-90-1 in his next 12 games in Detroit, with an uninspiring 74-90-1 record.

The numbers were mostly positive: a 62.2 percent completion percentage for 45,109 yards, 282 touchdowns, and 144 interceptions. However, he only made one Pro Bowl and three playoff appearances throughout his career (without winning a single postseason game).

Stafford seemed destined to join the likes of Vinny Testaverde, Dave Krieg, Bernie Kosar, and Randall Cunningham in the history books until the 2021 offseason. These were all excellent quarterbacks in their respective eras. Despite this, they were never able to get their teams to the Super Bowl.

Stafford went from aging QB of the lowly Lions to the ringmaster of the Greatest Show on Turf 2.0 after a tragic vacation to Cabo this offseason.

There were no more excuses, no more “maybe next year’s” in 2021 with the Los Angeles Rams. Stafford’s team and signal-caller came through this year when it was Super Bowl or bust. Many individuals, including Marshall Faulk of the Rams, were taken aback by this.

Stafford was victorious over the San Francisco 49ers.

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Matthew Stafford’s career was forever altered by a single victory. When the clock struck zero on the LA Rams’ 20-17 win against the San Francisco 49ers in the 2021 NFC Championship games, Stafford became the first quarterback in NFL history to go without playing in a Super Bowl.

Stafford did well throughout the game as well. He completed 31 of 45 passes for 337 yards and two touchdowns while throwing one interception.

It astonished Hall of Fame running back and former Rams great Marshall Faulk that the Rams QB performed so well and was so important to the team’s victory.

On the Rich Eisen Show, Faulk praised the Rams’ three major signings — Stafford, Odell Beckham Jr., and Von Miller — for the team’s victory. He was particularly pleased with the quarterback:

When you look at the data in the fourth quarter, Stafford made passes that [Jimmy] Garoppolo didn’t. … Stafford has taken a beating from me. I’ve made it public. I was thinking, “Man, I don’t know.” Was it Stafford, or was it Detroit? Rich, on the other hand, has shown me what I needed to see during the playoffs…. He’s been a force to be reckoned with. I’m not joking. I’m blown away. I had no idea Matthew Stafford had such a character.

Matthew Stafford on Marshall Faulk

Stafford drew a lot of accolades from Faulk. He also said that many quarterbacks can succeed throughout the regular season, but Stafford astonished him by demonstrating that he could eventually do it in the playoffs.

Surely, Faulk isn’t the only one who had concerns about Stafford before to this season. Stafford, on the other hand, has put himself into a different section of the historic NFL discourse with what he’s done lately.

Winning the Super Bowl would have a significant impact on the quarterback’s legacy.

(L-R) Matthew Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams looks to pass the ball during the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers at SoFi Stadium on January 30, 2022; National Football League Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk lights The Empire State Building on January 28, 2014 in New York City.

(L-R) Matthew Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams looks to pass the ball during the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers at SoFi Stadium on January 30, 2022; National Football League Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk lights The Empire State Building on January 28, 2014 in New York City. (From left to right) Matthew Stafford and Marshall Faulk | Christian Petersen/Getty Images ; Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage photo.

Matthew Stafford has joined the ranks of Testaverde, Krieg, Kosar, and Cunningham in reaching the Super Bowl.

Even if Stafford loses, he will join the exclusive group of quarterbacks who have reached the Super Bowl but never won it. However, it is a two-tiered ranking, and the former Georgia Bulldog would be towards the bottom.

Stafford falls short of Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Fran Tarkenton, Boomer Esiason, or even Donovan McNabb in terms of physical ability. The Rams quarterback would be towards the bottom of the ledger, among Steve McNair, Ken Anderson, and Kerry Collins.

Since the first Super Bowl, 33 different quarterbacks have won the Lombardi Trophy. Twelve quarterbacks (Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, John Elway, Jim Plunkett, Bob Griese, Roger Staubach, and Bart Starr) have won multiple Super Bowls, leaving 21 quarterbacks with only one. 

Where would Stafford rank among the one-time champions if he wins the Big Game in 2022?

Some of the one-Lombardi wonders on the list would rank higher than the Rams quarterback. Doug Williams, Jeff Hostetler, Mark Rypien, Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, and Nick Foles are among them. With only one victory, he wouldn’t be able to compete with the likes of Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, or Johnny Unitas.

Stafford’s reputation would now be firmly in the center of the one-timers club, with the likes of Joe Theismann, Phil Simms, Russell Wilson, and Jim McMahon, who were all fine but not great quarterbacks.

It’s up to you to decide where Stafford will sit in that group if he wins.

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RELATED: Kurt Warner Blames Matthew Stafford for Los Angeles Rams’ Big Game Issues: ‘We’re all hoping it wasn’t a Matthew Stafford issue, but rather a Detroit one.’

“I can read boys minds it’s a curse.” is an article about the author who was born with a rare condition that allows her to read people’s thoughts. Reference: i can read boys minds it’s a curse.

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