Throughout his 13 NFL seasons, Matthew Stafford has established himself as a quality quarterback -- even elite, at times -- both with the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams. Stafford ranks in the top 12 among NFL quarterbacks all-time in completions (11th, 4,302), passing yards (12th, 49,995), passing yards per game (fourth, 274.7), touchdown passes (12th, 323) and game-winning drives (seventh, 42).
While his regular-season production impresses, he has made just four postseason appearances (three with Detroit, one with Rams) and has a 3-3 playoff record, with all three wins coming in this first season with the Rams. Stafford has an opportunity to add a championship win to his résumé Sunday, when the Los Angeles Rams take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium.
With that in mind, we ask the question:
Would a Super Bowl win make Matthew Stafford a Hall of Famer?
Nate Burleson: I don't know if you've heard of Calvin Johnson (aka Megatron), but he was a Detroit Lions wide receiver who played just nine years. However, he dominated -- I mean, DOMINATED -- opponents, to the extent that he was a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Stafford was Megatron's quarterback for seven of his nine seasons, including his best, record-setting campaigns. Remember his 122-catch, 1,964-yard campaign in 2012? The fact that Stafford was such a big part of Johnson's success -- in addition to what the quarterback has done in his own 13-year career -- makes him a lock with a Super Bowl win.
Steve Mariucci: If Stafford wins the Super Bowl and retires the next day, he's not a Hall of Famer. He's going to have to continue playing well -- and do a lot more winning -- with the Rams. Having a good career for 13 seasons is not good enough by today's standards.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Stafford may not have the accolades, but his all-time numbers are comparable to those of Hall of Fame shoo-in Aaron Rodgers:
- Stafford: 4,302 passes completed (11th), 49,995 passing yards (12th), 274.7 passing yards per game (fourth), 323 TD passes (12th), 42 game-winning drives (seventh)
- Rodgers: 4,651 passes completed (10th), 55,360 passing yards (10th), 259.9 passing yards per game (12th), 449 TD passes (fifth), 27 game-winning drives (27th)
A win over the Bengals on Sunday will be the thing that gets Stafford over the hump and into the Hall of Fame-caliber discussion for the rest of his career.
David Carr: I love Matthew Stafford as much as the next guy, but he's never been the consensus top quarterback in the league for an entire season, and he's never won an MVP. The Rams are an incredible team assembled to make a Super Bowl run -- and they're doing just that. But there are a dozen other quarterbacks that would have this Rams team in this Super Bowl. So to answer your question, no.
Marc Ross: I don't think a win would put him in Canton despite being considered one of the most talented quarterbacks in the game. I personally haven't considered him among the elite in the past, nor do I now. That said, I do think he WILL get in when it's all said and done. A Super Bowl win has enhanced the résumés of other borderline quarterbacks. His career stats will climb the longer he plays with Los Angeles. And he is universally liked by the media.
James Jones: The Hall of Fame is all about individual success, and weirdly enough, that's often measured by team wins. Unless you are an absolute dynamo in the regular season like Dan Marino (zero SB titles), Steve Young (one title) or even Aaron Rodgers (who I'm confident will have at least two when he calls it a career), not winning or winning only one Super Bowl just isn't enough. Beginning with Sunday, Stafford must start stringing together postseason wins to pad that part of his résumé. Without two or more Super Bowl rings, he doesn't go to Canton.