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Did the Lions and the Rams have the perfect trade?

In March of 2021, the NFL saw a head scratcher of a trade go down. The struggling Lions sent Matthew Stafford down the road to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Jared Goff.

The reason that the trade was so confusing was because Mathew Stafford was a fan favorite in Detroit. From making touchdown passes with a dislocated shoulder, to being the only reason that fans came to Ford field to watch the Lions, Stafford seemed like a career Lion. He also appeared to be, well, a player that only the Lions wanted.

From 2009-2020 the Lions had a combined 79-112 record. When you do the math, that comes out to a .414-win percentage. While Stafford had great personal numbers, he only had four winning seasons.

Jared Goff on the other hand, had guided the Rams to a ton of success, including a super bowl appearance. So, what was the point of trading him away. Fans didn’t understand it. Why trade a winner for a proven loser? Well, the results are in from the trade.

Most of the time, you can say that one team has won the trade while the other has lost. At the beginning, it seemed like there was a clear winner, but not the one that we had suspected.

In his first season as a Ram, Stafford captained a 12-5 team. That record was good enough to send the Rams to the super bowl. The Rams would win the super bowl by a score of 23-20 over the Cincinnati Bengals.

In his first season as a Lion, Detroit welcomed Goff to the organization by assembling a terrible team around him. The Lions would mercifully end the 2021 campaign with an abysmal 3-13-1 record. However, in 2022, Goff gave Lions fans something that they hadn’t had in years, hope. The Lions finished the season with a 9-8 record, way exceeding expectations. The Lions were actually in the running for a playoff spot. As a Cubs fan I can empathize with the fact that if you are in the hunt at the end of a season, it has been a great year.

This year, the Lions are a favorite to represent the NFC in the super bowl. Detroit possesses a 5-1 record and is first in the NFC north division. So, while Stafford gave the Rams immediate success, Goff gave the Lions delayed success.

That last fact is why this must be the greatest trade in the history of the NFL. Stafford gave the Rams what they needed to finally put their season into the end zone by winning a championship. Goff gave a starving fan base a heavy meal of success and hope. Not only was the trade fair, both teams won the transaction.

by Ollie Hammonds

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