Column: Rams acquired Matthew Stafford so they can win Super Bowl LVI on home turf

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford looks on before the start of a game.
The Rams knew they wouldn’t win a title any time soon with Jared Goff, so they’re going all-in on Matthew Stafford.
(Rey Del Rio / Getty Images)

These debates are as silly as the idea that Jared Goff could lead the Rams to a championship.

He can’t. Matthew Stafford can. The Rams made a great trade. Period.

This fretting is as misguided as the notion that those Rams diehards paying big bucks to sit at SoFi Stadium next season give a hoot about draft assets.


They want to win now. Matthew Stafford is about winning now. The Rams made a great trade. Exclamation point.

In dealing Goff, along with two first-round draft picks and a third-round pick to the Detroit Lions for Stafford, the Rams are smartly and boldly following the blueprint of every great Los Angeles sports franchise.

They’re going for it. They’re pushing all their chips to the middle of the table. They’re risking long-term failure for a chance at immediate success.

Dylan Hernández weighs in on the Matthew Stafford-Jared Goff trade between the Rams and Detroit Lions on Saturday night.

Jan. 31, 2021

They’re showing their fans the greatest possible respect. They know they can’t wait. They know they shouldn’t have to wait. They’re giving them what they want, and they’re doing it now.

You know that Super Bowl that will be held in SoFi next February? Yeah, that one. They’re going for that one. This could be the trade that takes them there. If this town’s recent history is any indication, this actually will be the trade that takes them there.


This is the Lakers trading a passel of young players for Anthony Davis. This is the Dodgers trading three top prospects for outfielder Mookie Betts and pitcher David Price.

It is no surprise that Davis hit the season’s biggest shot and Betts made the season’s most dazzling plays. It is no coincidence that both trades led directly and immediately to championships.

This is what the Rams are doing here. They’re bringing in a star and shooting for the moon. They’re acting like a team that knows where it lives and understands what is expected of it.

This trade is great for their title hopes, exciting for their suffering fans, and perfect for this city. Period.

“If McVay fails to harvest a championship connection with two different quarterbacks at great cost to the organization, it’s on him, and the damage to his once-ironclad credibility will be severe.”

Most of the fussing since the Saturday deal has centered around a single question: For that kind of price, is Stafford the best you could do?


Considering the Rams reportedly pursued Houston’s DeShaun Watson and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers — and were stymied by both cost and availability — it appears Stafford was their best option.

Considering their first-round picks should be dreadfully low in the immediate future — and those picks are generally a crapshoot anyway — the price is not as bad as it seems.

Then, throw in the part where Stafford is replacing Goff on a team that had lost all faith in Goff and could no longer move forward with him? End of argument.

This is a title-contending trade and it’s not even close.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff jogs off the field after losing to the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff jogs off the field after losing to the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes Benz Satdium in Atlanta on Feb. 3, 2019.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Goff is a good guy who made some great plays in his five seasons here, but Stafford is next level. He ranks fourth in NFL history in career passing yards per game. He makes throws Goff cannot make. He finds receivers Goff cannot find. He is the swaggering, climb-on-my-back-fellas leader that Goff has not yet been.

One rap against Stafford is that he is 32, but five of the league’s top 10 passers this season were at least 32. There is a veteran quarterback renaissance happening all over the NFL, and Stafford still has several years to shine.


Another knock against him is that, in his 12 seasons in Detroit, he’s thrown for 45,109 yards yet made just one Pro Bowl and won exactly zero playoff games in three attempts. The counter to this can be made in three words. The Lions stink.

Some also question his durability, pointing to the fact that he’s been hampered with injuries to his back, ribs, ankle, thumb and middle finger. He even missed the final eight games of the 2019 season with fractured bones in his back. But consider, before that injury, he made 136 straight starts over nine seasons. The guy shows up for work.

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford throws before a game.
The Rams’ decision to trade for Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford shows their fearlessness when it comes to putting a winning team on the field now.
(Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press)

You know what he doesn’t do? He doesn’t give up the ball like Goff. In the past two seasons, Stafford’s had 19 turnovers. During that time Goff has had twice that many.

One can only imagine the combination of Stafford’s arm and coach Sean McVay’s vision. One can almost feel the power of Stafford’s offense accompanied by the strength of what was the league’s top-ranked defense.

Oh, and one can’t even fathom the pressure, which is where the Rams are really making a statement with this deal.

Les Snead, their swashbuckling general manager, knows he has to find a deep receiving threat to make this work. He knows Stafford’s abilities, and this deal, will be wasted without one. Snead is willingly walking a tightrope here, staking his reputation on his ability to finish the job. Such personal boldness, long the hallmark of Snead’s Rams, is to be applauded.


The Rams are committed to moving into a new direction with Matthew Stafford, but they’ll need more than just a new quarterback to bolster their offense.

Jan. 31, 2021

The heat is also on McVay to make this work. Goff wasn’t right? This better be right. If McVay fails to harvest a championship connection with two different quarterbacks at great cost to the organization, it’s on him, and the damage to his once-ironclad credibility will be severe. Yet McVay pushed for Stafford anyway, and good for him.

This is a brassy trade. This is a fearless trade. For a Los Angeles team fully and finally connected with the finest traditions of its town, this is great trade.