Matt Stafford on Pro Bowl snub: “I don’t really care, to tell you the truth”.
ALLEN PARK — In 2011, Matthew Stafford became one of five humans to ever pass for 5,000 yards in an NFL season. He threw 41 touchdown passes. He led his team to its first playoff game in 12 years.
Still, somehow, he didn’t make the Pro Bowl.
So while some were surprised to see him not make the Pro Bowl this year, after guiding Detroit to a league-record eight fourth-quarter comebacks — the single biggest reason the Lions are in first place with two games to go — he was not.
“I don’t really care, to tell you the truth,” Stafford said.
Really? Not at all?
“Obviously I want to play extremely well, but I just want to play for the guys in my locker room,” he said. “Told you guys a bunch before, if I didn’t make it in 2011, I don’t know, it’s going to be tough to make it. So not too worried about it. Just worried about, obviously, this upcoming game against a good opponent.”
Stafford was passed over in favor of Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Dallas’ Dak Prescott, all three of whom have compelling cases. Ryan is the league’s highest-rated passer (114.8), while Prescott is third (103.2) and Rodgers is fifth (100.3).
The only NFC quarterback better than them is New Orleans’ Drew Brees, who is fourth, and leads the NFL in overall passing numbers such as yards (4,559) and touchdowns (34).
Meanwhile, Stafford is 11th in QB rating at 95.8. He’s 10th in completion percentage (66.3), seventh in yards (3,720), 12th in touchdowns (22) and ninth in touchdown-to-interception ratio (2.8).
Solid numbers. But based on those numbers, he didn’t stack up with the guys who made it, and if anyone was snubbed, it was Brees.
Stafford, though, also has those eight comebacks, a record in the modern era. He played sick against New Orleans and hurt against Chicago and won both of those games too.
He’s led the Lions to the top of the NFC North. Yet the Lions have no Pro Bowl players at all.
They are the only winning team without even one.
Are they not getting enough respect?
“I don’t know, you guys tell me,” Stafford said. “I don’t think about it too much. I don’t worry about it. Couldn’t tell ya.”
One of the criticisms of the Pro Bowl is that voting — which is done by coaches and players, as well as fans — can be a popularity contest. And indeed, two of the three quarterbacks who made it are from the league’s two most popular teams.
Stafford, though, plays for the Lions.
“Am I unlikeable?” he joked. “Is that the problem?”
When a reporter later said he didn’t think Stafford was unlikeable, the quarterback responded: “Thank you, but you haven’t been here long.”