endure: 1.- to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding. 2.- to undergo especially without giving in. 3.-Remain in existence, last.
Last Sunday the people of Michigan saw an all too familiar scene. Stafford down with a minute to go and everything on the line of his last drive. Precisely why it was no surprise to anybody from the great lakes state when he uncorked a long, perfect side-winder missile to Cooper Kupp in the final minute of last week’s divisional showdown with the Bucs, setting up the chip shot winner as the clock ran out on Tom Brady and company. Since he came into the NFL in 2009, he leads the league in fourth-quarter comebacks with 31. Having never tasted a postseason victory during his 12 faithful, grueling seasons as the signal caller in Detroit, he was finally rewarded with his second straight playoff win at the cost of the defending champions and Las Vegas, since the entire state of Michigan bet the farm on its adopted son.
The decade plus he was QB for the Lions came at the darkest before dawn moment of the city as it struggled to recover from the political corruption, crime and economic malaise it had experienced over last half century. Drafted #1 out of Georgia, playing previously at a Highland Park High School, TX that included Clayton Kershaw, his upbringing was a veritable version of Varsity Blues, and he won the frozen hearts of Motown his rookie year with equal parts talent and guts. Throughout the years he played and often won beaten to shit, bleeding and constantly on the run with no offensive line ever, during his tenure. His level of effort and play was indistinguishable season to season, even during 4-12, 2-14 campaigns where the only two sure things were defeat and that Matt would show up and give everything he had till the whistle.
Some less than bright individuals have stated that he pads his stats in the fourth quarter when the game is clearly lost…Nope, that’s what trying your hardest till the gun looks like. They have confused a real work ethic with the typical selfish individualism that has befallen the majority at that position. Cam Newton, I’m looking right at you and pointing. Do something productive and go shoot your tailor. Please.
Upon exiting last year to La-La land, Stafford along with his wife Kelly donated a million dollars to fund the Education Center for the SAY Detroit Play Center at Lipke Park, par for the course character wise considering it was the second time the Stafford family had donated $1 million to the center. Matt Stafford is one of the few to conquer the rough landscape of Detroit before moving west. Now, with his legacy of excellence firmly cemented in the history books and game polished by the scars of experience, the rookie who revived the D shines brighter than any star of Tinsel-town. This Sunday as he leads his new team to the ‘ship, I can promise you the equivalent of a seven-nation army will be in his corner from the mitten.