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“Thank You, Not Goodbye” A Farewell To Matthew Stafford

Say what you will about our sports organizations, but Detroit’s fanbase is something to be rivaled.

“Thank You, Not Goodbye” A Farewell To Matthew Stafford


Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

NFL Free Agency season is officially upon us, and with it comes a slew of bittersweet feelings. Yes, there is excitement surrounding new deals and new faces. But with that excitement also comes a potential for a gut punch. For Detroit Lions fans, that gut-punch came late Wednesday night when the team released this video after officially completing a trade with the Rams for their quarterback Jared Goff in exchange for our own Matthew Stafford.

No Other 9

This video and its heartfelt message embodies so much about the city of Detroit that those of us that have lived and grew up here love about it. It’s earnest, it’s simple and it’s full of grit and heart. Don’t even get me started on the brilliant editing job by Derek Heitman and the decision to just punch us even harder in the gut by making it exactly 9 minutes long in honor of number 9. Much like a good piece of acting, it’s the subtlety that really makes it so effective.

Although he could thread the needle with the best of them in the league, it wasn’t Stafford’s finesse that was constantly praised by both fans and teammates alike. In a blue-collar city like Detroit, it was his grit and dedication to the game and his team that stood out above all else. Matthew Stafford played through the types of injuries most people would use as an excuse.

If there’s one thing this city loves, it’s a hard worker and someone that refuses to make excuses. The brilliant sidearm passes and no-look throws were just icing on the cake. As noted in his goodbye video, he came here in 2009 when the city was in utter turmoil and “ruined” by decades of turbulence.

As he grew, so did the city. People from outside of Detroit love to poke fun at the city, as do many of its residents at times, but its citizens and sports fans are nothing if not resilient. It’s oddly fitting for him to start a new chapter just around the same time as this city itself. But it’s often the people of Detroit that many of the athletes that have played here in their careers reference when talking about their time here. Say what you will about our organizations, but our fan base’s often delusional dedication to our teams, specifically a well-documented disappointment like the Lions, is something to be rivaled.

Number 9 rarely missed a snap on Sundays, and it will be weird to not see him under center on a weekly basis. But if you think he will receive anything short of a massive ovation upon his first return to Ford Field, then you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting a Detroit sports fan. Just take a look at the massive outpouring of love, and feelings, on Twitter after that video dropped.

It’s not you that should be thanking us Matthew. It’s the other way around.

An actor by degree, sports lover by day, and a bartender by night. As a native of suburban Detroit it took moving to NYC for Katie to fully realize her love of all things Michigan and Detroit sports. Feel free to engage her in her love of the coolest city and prettiest state in the country and why she will always root for Ohio State to lose every sporting event ever. No, really I am dead serious about that last statement.

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