Matthew Stafford backs Matt Patricia and explains passing on Patriots

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 25: Head coach Matt Patricia and Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 25: Head coach Matt Patricia and Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

When Matthew Stafford requested a trade out of Detroit, pundits throughout the industry immediately identified the Patriots as the ideal landing spot. How could they not?

Projected to be flush with cap space that would go a long way in terms of rectifying their roster deficiencies, the 33-year-old star seemed like the perfect candidate to overtake the reigns of the offense and lead them back into the playoffs in 2021.

Then, however, Stafford was dealt to the Rams for the equivalent of a king’s ransom and it was subsequently reported that he crossed off the Patriots as a potential destination. While his motivation behind that decision wasn’t disclosed, most analysts and fans surmised it had something to do with his former head coach, Matt Patricia, re-joining New England’s staff.

As it turns out, however, that wasn’t the case. In a recent interview, Stafford acknowledged that his trade preferences had more to do with the fact that the Patriots aren’t poised to compete for a championship than it did his relationship with Patricia, which he claims is strong.

Here’s what Matthew Stafford had to say about not wanting to join the Patriots

"“Patricia and I had a good relationship, no matter what anybody wants to say,” Stafford told the Detroit Free Press. “I could go into his office and talk to him, he could get me on the phone whenever he needed to. I think we both grew in that relationship. I have a lot of respect for him and who he is, as a football coach and an unbelievable mind.“What’s accurate is — and this is an incredible thing by the Lions — I asked to go to a team that was ready to win a championship. And, you know, there were a few teams on that list. There were a few teams that were not on that list. And they were respectful of that and understood completely. I had thoughts and reasons for each one of them.”"

Are you happy now, Patriots fans? This is a perfect example of a case when you think you want to know the answer to something important, but when the answer is revealed you realize that you were actually better off being kept out of the loop.

Though Stafford didn’t mention the Patriots by name, his comments made it clear that he believes they’re several moves away — not just a competent veteran quarterback and a few free agency additions — from being regarded as a true championship contender.

And you know what? Despite their promising foundational pieces and being the best coached team in the league, he’s probably right. There’s a distinct difference between a playoff team and a team capable of reaching the Super Bowl, and the Patriots obviously fall closer to the former than the latter.

Having been to the playoffs just three times in 12 years with Detroit, Stafford didn’t want to take any more chances. Everybody knows how highly playoff success is regarded when it comes to a quarterback’s legacy, and the Rams, along with the other teams involved in the sweepstakes, simply offered him the best chance to win a title.

If you asked us, that says more about the current state of the Patriots than it does anything else.