But Stafford might be closer to Canton than Sherman thinks
The Rams' second Super Bowl win over the Bengals was final on Sunday, and the narrative of Matthew Stafford's induction into the Hall of Fame gathered momentum and hasn't abated since.
Everyone contributes their views on Stafford and the Hall of Fame, including former Legion of Boom member Richard Sherman. Sherman chimed in on the idea that Stafford is already destined for the HOF, noting his lack of individual awards and even comparing his resume to that of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Looks like Sherman isn't ready to carve Stafford's bust for Canton.
First, Stafford still has a long way to go in his NFL career. He turned 34 less than a week before the Super Bowl and has shown no signs of slowing down or hanging up his shoes. From the looks of it, he could play well into his 40s and play another six or seven years before retiring. If you do, you're guaranteed a nod from Hall; Since he will be in the top five in so many passing categories, it will be difficult to keep him out.
Stafford is just under 50,000 yards away. He will pass that milestone in no time, with his first pass of 2022 just five meters away. In 13 years in the NFL, Stafford has passed under 4,000 yards just four times. Two of those seasons were cut short through injuries, in which he played in just three games in 2010 and eight games in 2019. Another such season was Stafford's rookie year in 2009, in which he played in 10 games. So it's safe to say that if he's healthy, he'll be throwing at least 4,000 yards for the foreseeable future. If he plays for a few more years, Stafford could end up having around 75,000 passing yards and more than 400 TD passes. Currently, only eight players can claim to have thrown more than 400 NFL touchdowns in their careers.
But this is the future and none of us knows how the next few years will develop. I understand Sherman's opinion of Stafford, although he has some stunning stats from his days in Detroit and now in Los Angeles. It's hard to judge Stafford for having played for such an inept franchise for so long. Stafford was still producing to some extent, although he only played in three postseason games for the Lions in 12 years. But I will not blame Stafford for all the failings of this organization. No, he couldn't pull the Lions out of the dark, but not many quarterbacks would have.
Sherman's argument that Stafford's praise is comparable to Ryan's is fair. Stafford is a one-time pro bowler while Ryan is a four-time pick. Ryan also has MVP honors, Offensive Player of the Year, and an All-Pro selection on his resume. Stafford does not have any of these individual achievements on its own. But the only thing Stafford has that Ryan and the Falcons got away with is a Super Bowl win. And we all know when it comes to QB position, that's what moves the needle. How many rings does a man have? If you can have the flashy numbers throughout your career and add the Super Bowl champion into the mix, you have a great opportunity in the living room.
I know one person who definitely disagrees with Sherm's opinion of Stafford's value in the HOF. That would be Matt's wife, Kelly Stafford.
While Stafford isn't a Hall of Famer now, it's only a matter of time before he crosses that threshold, especially if he can pull off another Super Bowl campaign with the Rams. He wins a second ring and there is no doubt about Stafford's HOF candidacy. Eli Manning comes to HOF thanks to two Super Bowl careers, both of which he was MVP. That's pretty much all Manning has on his resume, other than being a Manning, of course. Take away the 2007 and 2011 postseason runs from Eli and he's just a guy named Manning.
So if I had to choose Stafford right now, I would say no, he's not a Hall of Famer. At least not in the first ballot. He still needs some time, a few more wins and a few deeper runs in the playoffs before he can go there. But Stafford is certainly a lot closer than Sherman gives him credit for.