Of course Matthew Stafford is not the greatest quarterback in NFL history. That's just silly.
He is, however, the RICHEST quarterback (or player, period) in NFL history. At least for now.
This upon the news, reported here by my former colleague Michael Rothstein, that Stafford has signed a deal that will keep him in Detroit for the next five years and pay him vast sums of American dollars. Under his, he'll make $27 million a year, and his deal will top out at a grand total of $135 million.
I know what you're saying now. You're saying, "But ... but he's Matthew Stafford! What's he done to earn that kind of jack?"
Allow me to tell you.
Allow me to say that Stafford's gargantuan deal is simply the free market at work, and nothing more mysterious than that. He's the highest paid player in NFL history -- at least for now -- because the market value of quarterbacks in the NFL has never been higher. If quarterbacks have always been critical to a team's success, they're more so now, because stylistically it's a quarterback-driven league in a way it's never been before.
You get a top-shelf quarterback now, you pay him whatever dollars necessary to hang onto him. Just ask anyone who doesn't have a top-shelf quarterback.
And so the Lions opened the vault for Stafford, because he already holds every career passing record the team has, and because he's been the quarterback for a team that's made the playoffs three times in the last five years. Context is important here; when you're a franchise that made the playoffs just eight times in the 37 years before Stafford arrived, and which historically hasn't been overserved with Tom Bradys or Peyton Mannings at the quarterback position, that makes him invaluable.
He's the most successful quarterback the Lions have ever had, or at least since Bobby Layne was playing for them 60 years ago. And he's playing in a league that rakes in $14 billion a year, and in an era in which quarterbacks are at greater premium than they've ever been.
Any further questions?