It’s already written, but Matthew Stafford is coming back to Detroit.
Stafford has won. He won a Super Bowl with the Rams, and in his former hometown, he remains incredibly popular. Whether or not he pulls off an upset against his old team, that won’t change.
It’s not quite as sentimental as the more intriguing backstory in the Rams vs. Lions NFC wild-card game. Sean McVay and Jared Goff will face off on Sunday.
Their reputation is something they will have to stake, whereas Stafford will never have to, because the tale of their once-fruitful partnership’s demise is still being written. What set them apart and what they did afterward define each of them.
McVay’s decision to bench his one-time franchise quarterback, Jared Goff, and turn his offense over to the seasoned Stafford was validated when he won the Super Bowl. With each of the Lions’ 12 victories this season, the shame surrounding the unceremoniously dismissed Goff’s departure from the Rams has lessened. Goff has rebuilt his career with the team.
Although Goff claims he received the closure he sought after speaking with McVay following the trade, and McVay admitting he should have communicated better with Goff prior to trading him to the Lions, their relationship has appeared to be amicable.
Following a 21–20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, which guaranteed the Rams a spot in the wild-card round against the Lions, McVay persisted in downplaying their past. “You guys are aware of the various events that have happened [with Goff], but I’m feeling nothing but positive energy,” McVay remarked.
“We’re going to the game knowing that we’re up against a very good football team.
“But is that all that it could be? The Rams wanted to keep Goff working with McVay, who had already brought him to a Super Bowl appearance, so they signed him to a $110 million extension prior to the 2019 season.
McVay’s contract was only supposed to expire one year before Goff’s, who was signed through the 2024 season. But by the end of the next year, Goff was seated behind John Wolford, who was unknown before. The Rams were stale, which sparked rumors that McVay was no longer the same coach once he didn’t have a healthy Todd Gurley or that Bill Belichick had exposed him in Super Bowl LIII. Goff’s benching suggested that his quarterback, not him, was the problem, according to McVay.
Stafford was traded to the Lions in exchange for Goff and draft picks less than a month after the Rams were eliminated from the playoffs. Stafford helped the Rams win the Super Bowl, which appeared to prove Mcvay’s point
Goff will now have the opportunity to change the narrative surrounding him as the head coach of a better Lions team. The Rams must be aware of this, which is why they made every effort to avoid playing the quarterback they previously selected with the first overall pick.
McVay remarked, “I think that as time goes on, I have more appreciation for him.” “He is a true gentleman who has done amazing things for both them and us. He is nothing short of heroic. They are in this situation for a reason.
Kevin Demoff, the chief operating officer, was just as, if not more, gushing about Goff. Demoff remarked, “What Jared Goff did for this franchise is something you can never undervalue.” “No. 1 pick comes here, helps us win two divisional titles and a Super Bowl, and makes the job more appealing for Sean to accept in 2017.”
“While people might concentrate on how it ended, Jared brought us to three playoffs in four years and transformed this team from a hopeless one to one that became a desirable place to play. That kind of success doesn’t happen without him. I believe that we always hold a particular place in our hearts for him.” Demoff grinned.
He said, “Maybe not next weekend.” Demoff referred to the Stafford-for-Goff trade as a “win-win,” noting that the Rams achieved their goal of winning the Super Bowl while the Lions acquired the building blocks required to reconstruct their team.
But what happens in the coming weeks, months, and years will ultimately determine how Goff’s departure from the Rams is remembered in history. The narrative is still developing. On Sunday, the next chapter will be made public.