Sunday was a good day for former Georgia Bulldog quarterback Matthew Stafford. Well, I guess it’s usually a good day to be Staff. But yesterday, while not absolutely perfect, was a banner day. Despite falling to Green Bay 31-24 in the season finale, the Lions locked up a playoff spot. As any Lions fan will tell you, that’s not an everyday occurrence. Stafford put on a solid performance, completing 26 of 41 passes for 347 yards and 2 touchdowns. And to top it off he became the fastest NFL quarterback to reach the 30,000 yard passing mark, eclipsing that number in his 109th game (Dan Marino hit 30,000 in his 114th). For the record, he was also the fastest to 15,000, 20,000, and 25,000.
Stafford is still only 44th on the all-time NFL career passing rankings, and has a long, long way to go to get to Peyton Manning’s 71,940 yard record. 38 year old Drew Brees has a bead on the record, with 66,111 passing yards in his illustrious career. It’s also possible that 39 year old Tom Brady will remain upright and continue to leave St. Tropez in the fall long enough to further the record (Brady currently has 61,582 yards and counting). But Stafford is right on the heels of retired QBs like Boomer Esiason (37,920) and Dave Krieg (38,147) who sit inside the top 20 all-time. Sure, there’s a degree of statistical inflation there that accompanies the advent of wide-open offenses over the past 15 years. Still, it’s a heckuva career the kid from Highland Park has been putting together, playoff struggles aside.
But if the 28 year old Stafford keeps churning out 4000+ yard seasons and can avoid injury problems (a big if for him) it’s not inconceivable that he could become the NFL’s all-time passing leader sometime during the 2028 season, give or take. Stafford already holds the Lions’ all-time franchise passing record, was the first player in NFL history to complete 60% of his passes in every game of a season, and along with Brees holds the record for most consecutive 350+ yard passing seasons. Go. ‘Dawg.