The Detroit Lions couldn't have put both Matthew Stafford and their own franchise in better positions from the trade that sent the team's all-time passing leader to the Los Angeles Rams. Stafford was sent to an organization that is a Super Bowl contender with him at quarterback, while the Lions received Jared Goff, first-round draft picks in 2022 and 2023 and a third-round pick in 2021.
Stafford had one trade request from Detroit, and is very appreciative of the Lions for fulfilling his wish.
"What's accurate is -- and this is an incredible thing by (the Lions) -- I asked to go to a team that was ready to win a championship," Stafford said, via Mitch Album of the Detroit Free-Press. "And, you know, there were a few teams on that list. There were a few teams that were not on that list. And they were respectful of that and understood completely. I had thoughts and reasons for each one of them."
While Stafford had a list of teams he wished to go to -- he neither confirmed nor denied the report that he told the Lions not to trade him to the Patriots -- the main goal was to compete for a championship after playing for a team like Detroit, a franchise that won just 79 games since Stafford's rookie year (2009), tied for the sixth-fewest wins in the NFL in that span. The Rams have won 43 games since the start of the 2017 season (Sean McVay's first year as head coach) -- tied for fourth-most in the league.
Stafford did address the idea that he was unhappy with Matt Patricia, who was fired after going 13-29-1 as Lions coach and returned to the Patriots as an assistant: "He and I had a good relationship, no matter what anybody wants to say," Stafford said.
Stafford has the most passing yards (45,109) through a player's first 165 games in NFL history and his 282 touchdown passes are the seventh most through a player's first 165 games. Stafford has the most fourth quarter comebacks (31) in the NFL since his rookie season in 2009 and his 38 game-winning drives are second in the league during that span (behind only Drew Brees).
Playing for a Super Bowl contender could be Stafford's path to the Hall of Fame, especially if he's able to capture a championship.