Not to go on a huge rant here, but Terry Bradshaw is one of the most overrated quarterbacks in NFL history. This is NOT a hot take. For those who are skeptical, take a look at his regular-season numbers on Pro-Football-Reference.com. He was excellent in the playoffs, sure, but one can easily make the argument that Troy Aikman was a more consistent quarterback than Bradshaw.
It’s hard to understand why Bradshaw is still on FOX Sports. He seems so out of it most of the time, and he even forgets what teams are playing from the highlights that he’s calling. On a side note, he even has his own family TV show for E! Online. That TV program looks awful, especially since Terry is the supposed star on the screen. Bringing up Bradshaw here is important because he once again said one of the dumbest things ever stated on sports talk television.
Jared Goff, not Matthew Stafford, is the Rams Best Quarterback Option
Now, Skip Bayless and Colin Cowherd have done their fair shares of hot takes during their morning and afternoon programs, respectively. Keep in mind that sometimes these sports talk show hosts don’t always believe in what they’re saying. However, hot takes can sometimes drive the Nielsen ratings because they’re so controversial but yet also intriguing to potential viewers and listeners. Ratings are of course how these on-air personalities get paid. With all of that being said, however, it seems apparent that Bradshaw wants the Los Angeles Rams to trade quarterback Jared Goff for Detroit Lions passer Matthew Stafford.
Why the Rams Should Stick It Out With Goff
This would be a terrible decision on so many levels, but below are the easiest ones that come to mind.
First of all, Goff is a lot younger than Stafford. So it would’ve make much sense for general manager Les Snead want to invest in a much older quarterback with no previous playoff success. Moreover, this transaction would anger some of his players who like and believe in Goff.
Jared Goff has already played in a Super Bowl while still in the prime of his career. Matthew Stafford, however, has never played in the Divisional Round and is now in the twilight of his career. Kirk Cousins gets much criticism, but he does have a playoff win on his resume.
Thirdly, passing numbers can definitely be inflated. Yes, Goff put up great passing yard numbers last season with his Rams team ultimately missing the postseason, but then again, Stafford consistently puts up gaudy numbers through the air. It’s safe to wonder if Stafford has to continue to throw for a lot of yards at the end of the game because he’s simply not getting it done during the first half. Though losing outcomes don’t fall on him completely, it’s mind-boggling that the Lions never won a playoff game with Stafford, legendary wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Pro Bowl defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Ziggy Ansah all in the prime of their careers. Stafford has had weapons on offense throughout the years, and it’s not as though his defensive teammates have always underperformed.
Jared Goff and Matt Stafford’s Fumble Rates
The only statistical edge Stafford has over Goff is protecting the football. Since entering the league in 2016, Goff is notorious for fumbling the pigskin. The Rams starter has fumbled the ball at least seven times since his sophomore season, and he’s on pace to once again cough the ball up seven more times in 2020. As for Stafford, he usually only fumbles three to four times per season.
But other than that, it’s difficult to fathom Terry Bradshaw’s fascination with Stafford. The former 2009 first-round pick has been a turnover machine during his small sample size of playoff games. He’s committed four total turnovers during his postseason career, which includes three alone during a Wild Card defeat to the Dallas Cowboys. The no-call of defensive pass interference against Brandon Pettigrew was terrible, but Stafford should get most of the blame for not getting the victory that day.
Stafford’s Playoff Struggles
Matthew Stafford isn’t exactly “Captain Clutch.” In the 2016 season, the Lions actually started 9-4, but a three-game losing streak down the stretch—including an embarrassing 42-21 loss to the Cowboys—cost the Lions a chance at winning the NFC North. The Lions subsequently went on the road to play the Seattle Seahawks on Wild Card Weekend and got trounced by the “Legion of Boom.”
It’s one thing if a team is close to being a postseason contender and needs a quarterback (the San Francisco 49ers come to mind if they want to move on from Jimmy Garroppolo), but it is completely different to want to bring in Stafford when the Rams have consistently won with Goff under center.
Honestly, it’s not a huge deal that the Rams missed the playoffs last season. Missing postseason play is unfortunate, but Goff wasn’t as bad as fans remember. In 2019, Goff showed that he has the ability to compete against the monstrous 49ers defensive line. With the Rams desperately needing a win in Week 16, the former number-one overall draft pick simply did his job well enough to keep his team in the game: 323 passing yards on 46 attempts, two touchdown passes to only one interception. Remember, this was the same 49ers defense who made Patrick Mahomes look like a non-MVP quarterback during Super Bowl 54 and the same defensive unit who dominated Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Championship Game.
Goff Isn’t That Bad Against the 49ers
People are too caught up with bringing up Goff’s struggles against the 49ers. Players can sometimes struggle in key moments or against certain teams. For the longest time, legendary signal-caller Peyton Manning could never quite figure out the blitz packages that Bill Belichick sent his way. Also keep in mind when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used to always lose when the temperature was under 35 degrees. It goes to show that even to the best of great athletes have their struggles. Though Jared Goff is not an exceptional athlete, he is more athletic than Stafford.
Fans will harp on Goff’s ridiculous contract, it’s not as if Stafford has been a bargain gridiron player in Detroit. When someone is being paid all that money without a single playoff game win since Erik Kramer was the starting quarterback, they are expected to perform on biggest off stages.
Deeper Analytical Data on Goff versus Stafford
Terry Bradshaw didn’t really think things through when he called out Goff. Moreover, Goff deserves more respect. It should be safe assume that if Chicago Bears fans were asked if they’d rather have Jared Goff’s or Khalil Mack’s contract, at least six of them would take Goff’s. If a franchise has a quarterback who has a track record of winning big games, they have a chance to win. Even with a lethal pass rusher in Mack, if a team doesn’t have the quarterback in today’s NFL, they’re essentially out of any playoff contention.
In fact, here’s a look at some next-level Matthew Stafford versus Jared Goff numbers. One of the reasons the Lions are 5-8 this season and need a lot of help to get into the playoffs is because Stafford’s receivers, well, aren’t very good. On December 1st, the Lions had 25 dropped passes according to Pro Football Focus.
But at the same time, Stafford’s numbers are declining according to PFF. His overall grade has been under 80 every season except for 2019, and he’s on pace for another season in 77-78 grade range.
As for Goff, he’s criticized for being Sean McVay’s puppet signal-caller who can’t read defenses well and needs play-action to be effective. And while the Rams are shattering the record books these past four streams with how many play-action play calls that they utilize during the games, its mind-boggling that Goff needs to be blamed for this. Great head coaches put their quarterbacks in positions to win. Football is the ultimate team game where talent doesn’t trump all. It’s all about rhythm and having confidence on each drive.
If McVay can run it down team’s throats and then immediately go to play-action to air it out and run them of the building, then so be it. Some quarterbacks like to run the team. Manning was basically an offensive coordinator during his career in Indianapolis and Denver. Other quarterbacks, like Goff for example, fully trust in their head coach and offensive coordinator. Goff doesn’t need to audible at the line of scrimmage to be successful because the Rams offense has mostly been successful as is, regardless of who the starting running back is for the team.
Sean McVay-Jared Goff and Drew Brees-Sean Payton Dynamics
Furthermore, it’s not as though Drew Brees never needed Sean Payton. Brees was a decent signal-caller in San Diego, but once Payton was hired by the New Orleans Saints as the new head coach, Brees became an all-time great. That end result of football greatness is definitely not a coincidence, so Goff should not be immensely criticized for having McVay as his head coach.
That being said, Goff’s deep ball has declined in terms of touch and accuracy. His intended air yards have taken a notable dip since 2018, and he hasn’t even completed a pass over 19 yards his last three starts.
Yet with all the questions surrounding Goff, Rams fans should be thankful for what they have. For every Sean McVay-Jared Goff relationship, you have a severely-broken Mitchell Trubisky-Matt Nagy debacle. Basically, Los Angeles should keep Goff and not move in another direction with Matthew Stafford.
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