Just over a year ago, the Lions agreed to trade their 2009 No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford to the Rams.
Now Stafford has seemingly proven to be Los Angeles’ missing piece, as the club is playing for a title in Super Bowl LVI.
But after 12 years with Detroit, Stafford’s positive feelings about the city and the organization haven’t just gone away. During his Monday press conference, Stafford said his teammates and the fan base kept him going during those lean years with the Lions.
“They had an expectation of what I was going to do when I was out there, what it was going to look like when they came to the Detroit Lions game, and I wanted to make sure that that was their experience more often than not,” Stafford said. “And then as far as what Detroit fans are, I mean, they were extremely loyal, they were great, they were passionate — all the things you want fans to be. Unbelievable to me and my wife and my family and the community, how many times we were out to eat or playing with our kids in the park, whatever it was, and the support that we felt from them not only when the times were good.
“But when my wife was going through some of the things that she was going through health-wise, or maybe we weren’t winning football games, they were always supportive. And people cared about not only the Lions and me, but my family and us as people. So, always gonna have a soft spot for Detroit in my heart and just appreciate it.”
Stafford also noted he feels like he’s playing to win this Super Bowl not only for his Rams teammates, but also for those who he’s played with before in his career.
“If we sit here and say we’re not a product of our experiences, or we haven’t learned from some of the things that we’ve had go on in the past, picked up things from great teammates or coaches along the way, we’d be lying to ourselves,” Stafford said. “I do appreciate so much just everybody’s support. And I know that when I’m out there playing, whether it’s this week in the Super Bowl or any other game, I’m a representation of those experiences that I’ve had with those people. I feel like every time I step out there on the field, I’m playing for not really myself, but for everybody that’s helped get me there.”