You probably won't see Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh holding hands around a campfire while singing "Kumbaya" any time soon, if ever. It was wildly evident there's a fracture of some sort in the relationship, one that might be rooted in their time spent together with the Detroit Lions from 2010 through 2014. On Sunday, as the two met in the NFL divisional round in a matchup of their new teams -- the Los Angeles Rams visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- things nearly got out of hand when the two became reacquainted in the backfield.
Suh took down Stafford for what looked to be a standard pressure and QB hit but was then flagged for taunting, after pointing at the Rams quarterback while yelling at him in what looked more like a threat than a taunt. And as it turns out, it was likely exactly that, as Suh was then heard on the official's hot mic accusing Stafford of playing dirty on the takedown.
"You see him kick me?!" Suh yelled.
No penalty was levied against Stafford, and the 15-yard infraction on Suh awarded the Rams a first down that eventually led to a touchdown pass from Stafford to tight end Kendall Blanton to give Los Angeles a 10-point lead.
Kelly, wife of Matthew Stafford, spoke recently to address what happened at Raymond James Stadium -- noting her confusion as to why Suh has an issue with her husband, and she says this isn't new to 2022.
"Not really sure why Suh doesn't like Matthew, but Suh doesn't like Matthew," she said on her podcast 'The Morning After with Kelly Stafford,' via The Detroit Free Press. "And it has become this weird dynamic in the past couple years -- like Suh will come out in the media and stay stuff. Whatever, it doesn't even matter. It doesn't phase Matthew, it is what it is.
"... I see Suh in his face ... I look at the replay in the suite, I realize it's Suh and I'm like, 'Huh, this is interesting.' And he's in Matthew's face saying, 'I'm gonna [expletive] you up, I'm gonna [expletive] you up.'
"Those were his words. And to be honest, if I was Matthew, I'd be like 'I'm [expletive] terrified because you are a monster and you could really do some harm.'"
Stafford didn't appear shaken in the least, however, and went on to battle through some late-game pressure and mistakes to land the death blow and send Suh and the Buccaneers packing in spectacular fashion. After tying the contest and threatening overtime to potentially force the Rams into one of the most historic meltdowns in postseason history, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles called a Cover 0 blitz at Stafford, who answered with a 44-yard bomb to Cooper Kupp to set up kicker Matt Gay for the game-winning field goal against his former team.
And as the Rams quarterback now readies for his first NFC Championship appearance, it's unlikely he's still thinking about Suh, but his wife can't shake what happened in the divisional round.
"Obviously, when I saw that, I was like, 'Oh, eff you Suh. Like what is wrong, relax dude, it's football.' And I have no idea what just triggered that. So then I asked Matthew and he was like, 'Honestly, I don't really know what happened. I didn't really know who tackled me. But I remember getting put to the ground and someone on me and got him off me to try to get to the next play, and then Suh was in my face telling me he was going to [expletive] me up.'
"And I was like, 'What? I don't understand.' He's like, 'Who's gonna understand it, whatever, it doesn't matter.'"
In the end, the world may never know what the tension stems from. And while Stafford's wife might want some clarity on it all, her husband could not care less about anything other than trying to keep the San Francisco 49ers from defeating the Rams for a third time this season -- with a ticket to Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium on the line.