Is Rams' Matthew Stafford Best QB In NFC?

Who is his top competition?
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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At 36 years old, Matthew Stafford is the oldest and most experienced starting quarterback in the NFC. He's not just the oldest, but the best in the NFC. Stafford is certainly one of the best quarterbacks in the entire league but definitely doesn't trump Patrick Mahomes and arguably a couple of other top quarterbacks as the best in the game.

The other quarterbacks in the conference who have been around nearly as long as Stafford are Kirk Cousins and Geno Smith, but both spent time in the league as a backup quarterback and neither have nearly the amount of accomplishments that Stafford does.

Stafford is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, and the only quarterback in the NFC to have won the Super Bowl as a starter. He's the fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach 30,000, 40,000, and 50,000 passing yards, and is one of a select club who have thrown for 5,000 yards in a season or have multiple 40+ passing touchdown seasons.

Stafford doesn't have nearly as many Pro Bowls, All-Pro, or honors as many great quarterbacks do at his age, but a lot of that is due to spending the majority of his career with the Detroit Lions. Stafford led the Lions to the playoffs three times, but the team was never able to consistently succeed during his tenure there.

His Lions also had to challenge the Aaron Rodgers-led Green Bay Packers for division titles. He's also dealt with some bad timing. During one of Stafford's best seasons in 2011 when he threw for over 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns, three other quarterbacks had MVP-type seasons with Tom Brady and Drew Brees also surpassing 5,000 yards and Rodgers winning MVP as the Packers went 15-1and he threw 45 touchdowns.

It does help Stafford's case as the best quarterback in the conference that the NFC saw quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Rodgers either leave for the AFC and/or retire. Right now, many of the quarterbacks in the conference are young — Brock Purdy, Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, J.J. McCarthy, and Bryce Young — so there's not much competition. The competition he does have in the conference, he easily clears.

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Eva Geitheim