2016 was a big year for the Rams. They moved back to Los Angeles and traded away a good chunk of their draft stock so they could take Jared Goff with the first overall pick. Ever since, playoff and Super Bowl hopes have been heavy on the brain of Rams fans everywhere. Adding head coach Sean McVay into the mix only added to their fever dreams.

While Jared Goff wouldn’t be classified as a bust by most draft critics, he did tend to underperform too often to be considered an elite quarterback. Time after time, Goff showed inconsistencies not becoming a Super Bowl contender. Ever since he was drafted, Goff has had enough weapons around him to be a superstar but was never able to reach those heights.

The Rams defense, led by studs like Aaron Donald, has been the backbone of their team since Goff’s arrival. They’ve always had a solid running game and a receiving corps befitting of a championship-caliber team. But there was something missing, and that was the leadership and skills needed at quarterback. Many hoped that Goff would eventually step into that role, but he simply couldn’t through four years of trying.

Enter, Matthew Stafford

Since entering the league in 2009, Stafford has consistently been one of the top statistical quarterbacks in the league. He’s a Pro Bowler, a Comeback Player of the Year Winner, and one of the toughest players in football. He even managed to carry the Detroit Lions to the playoffs three times but never made it out of the Wild Card round. Outside of Calvin Johnson, Stafford didn’t have any weapons equivalent to that of his counterpart, Jared Goff.

It’s arguable that if the Rams had Stafford in Super Bowl 53, the outcome might’ve been different. Jared Goff consistently displayed his inexperience and lack of play-making ability, which is where Matthew Stafford thrives. Stafford has a cannon for an arm and, when he’s healthy, he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Throughout his career, Stafford has led 31 comebacks and 38 game-winning drives, making him one of the most clutch QBs in the league.

Stafford has thrown for over, 4,000 yards 8 times in his career and for over 5,000 once. He threw for a career-best 41 touchdowns in 2011 and has thrown for at least 25 touchdowns 5 times with the Lions. He managed to do this with little to no defense and possibly the worst rushing game in all of football.

A New Hope in LA

Stafford brings new hope to a Rams team whose Super Bowl window isn’t closing, but who had given up on winning with Jared Goff. Players like Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee, Robert Woods, and Leonard Floyd are locked up for at least two more years, but it was time for a change. The Rams offense had good weapons but was consistently stagnant and unproductive.

Sunday night marked Stafford’s first game as a Ram, and he didn’t disappoint. He threw for 321 yards and 3 touchdowns with a completion percentage of 76.9%. Matthew showed what he’s capable of with weapons on offense and a defense that’s one of the best in the league. For the last three years, the only missing ingredient to make the Rams a Super Bowl winner is a quarterback. With Matthew Stafford at the helm, that could all change.