Who is Matthew Stafford?
John Matthew Stafford is an American professional football quarterback currently affiliated with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). Having made his NFL debut in 2009, he has spent all his professional career with the Lions. A Florida native, Stafford spent parts of his childhood in Georgia and Texas. He studied at Highland Park High School where he received training from Randy Allen. After obtaining his high-school degree, he attended the University of Georgia. For his tenure as a member of the Georgia Bulldogs football team, he won several accolades, including being named All-America in 2008 by ‘Pro Football Weekly’ and MVP of the 2009 Capital One Bowl. A day before the 2008 NFL Draft, he signed a six-year, $41.7-million contract with the Lions. Since then, he has played 11 seasons with the team, receiving NFL Comeback Player of the Year accolade in 2011 and Pro-Bowl Offensive Most Valuable Player in 2014. In 2018, he was nominated for the Lions' Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
Childhood & Early Life
Born on February 7, 1988, in Tampa, Florida, Matthew Stafford is the son of John and Margaret Stafford. He has a sister named Page. After his birth, the family relocated to Dunwoody, Georgia, as John Stafford was a student at the University of Georgia.
His family lived in Dallas, Texas, for a while. He studied at Highland Park High School and was involved in their football program.
Under the tutelage of coach Randy Allen, he became one of the best high school quarterbacks in the United States at the time. In 2005, he received the MVP and Best Arm awards at the EA Sports Elite 11 Quarterback Camp and was selected as the EA Sports National Player of the Year. Rivals.com ranked him at the top among the pro-style quarterback prospects in the class of 2006.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
After graduating from high school, Stafford enrolled at the University of Georgia, where he became a true quarterback in his freshman season for the Georgia Bulldogs football team.
In the ensuing three seasons (2006-08), he played 39 matches in total, with 564 pass completions for 7731 passing yards, 51 passing touchdowns, 141 rushing attempts for 213 rushing yards, and six rushing touchdowns.
Stafford decided not to compete in the senior season for Georgia and make himself available for the 2009 NFL Draft.
On April 24, 2009, less than 24 hours before the draft, he negotiated a six-year contract with the Detroit Lions, that was reportedly worth $41.7 million in guaranteed money, with the total valuation of it reaching up to $78 million.
He was the franchise’s first overall pick of that year’s draft and later was made their permanent starting quarterback heading into the 2009 season by head coach Jim Schwartz.
On September 13, 2009, Stafford made his NFL debut against the New Orleans Saints. The first Lions rookie quarterback to begin the season since Greg Landry in 1968, he registered 16 of 37 pass completions for 205 yards. In the 2009 season, he played 10 games, starting all of them, with 201 pass completions for 2267 yards, and 13 passing touchdowns.
Stafford spent much of the 2010 season recovering from a shoulder injury that he had sustained in the season opener against the Chicago Bears on 12 September. Although he briefly returned in October, he ended up re-injuring his right shoulder during a game against the New York Jets about a week later.
In 2011, he registered 421 pass completions for a career-best 5,038 yards and career-best 41 passing touchdowns in 16 games. That season marked his first appearance in the NFL postseason. On January 7, 2012, the Lions were defeated by the Saints 28-45.
In the 2012 season, he recorded a career-best 435 pass completions for 4967 yards in 16 games. The Lions made their next postseason appearance in the 2014-15 NFL playoffs. In the Wild Card round, they lost to the Dallas Cowboys 20-24 on January 4, 2015.
During his most recent postseason outing, he led the Lions’ losing effort against the Seahawks in the Wild Card round of the 2016-17 NFL Playoffs on January 7, 2017.
On August 28, 2017, Stafford renegotiated his contract with the Lions for a 5-year, $135-million extension with $92 million guaranteed. As a result, he effectively became the highest-paid player in NFL history at the time.
Before the 2018 season, the Lions brought in a new head coach, Matt Patricia. That season, Stafford appeared in 16 games, posting 367 pass completions for 3,777 passing yards and 21 passing touchdowns.
Family & Personal Life
While Matthew Stafford was in Georgia, he became acquainted with cheerleader Kelly Hall, who is the sister of the retired NFL player Chad Hall. They exchanged wedding vows on April 4, 2015. In 2017, Kelly gave birth to identical twin girls, Sawyer and Chandler. A year later, their third daughter, Hunter Hope, was born.
On April 3, 2019, Kelly announced through Instagram that a tumour had been found in her brain. She had a 12-hour surgery on April 21, 2019.
An active member of the community, Stafford gave $1 million to the S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center in 2015.