How Matthew Stafford Will Make History When Super Bowl 56 Officially Begins

In the span of a month, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford went from having no playoff wins on his resume to preparing for Super Bowl 56. Life in the NFL sure changes quickly.

Regardless of what happens on Sunday night, Stafford is at least guaranteed to make NFL history when he takes the field for the Rams’ first possession. Whether or not it’s positive or negative depends on how you want to view the glass in front of you.

Matthew Stafford will make history when Super Bowl 56 officially begins

When the 2021 season ended, Stafford had 49,955 yards and 323 passing touchdowns to his name, at least with regards to the regular season. He currently ranks 12th in both categories among players who have ever participated in an NFL game.

According to the NFL’s official research account, Stafford will break the records for most passing yards and most passing touchdowns by a player making his first Super Bowl appearance. The likes of Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Dan Marino, and Tom Brady, all of whom rank above Stafford in both categories, made Super Bowl appearances within their first three seasons as starters.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had 37,701 yards and 240 touchdowns to his name when he reached his first (and, as of publication, only) Super Bowl following the 2016 season. Peyton Manning had 37,586 yards and 275 touchdowns when he reached Super Bowl 41 after the 2006 campaign. Both of those totals, as with Stafford’s, are regular-season only.

Compare those numbers to Stafford, who has over 12,000 more yards than both quarterbacks. At least he, unlike Ryan, won’t have to worry about facing Brady in the Super Bowl.

Most of the quarterbacks who rank above Stafford have won at least one Super Bowl

Twelve total quarterbacks rank ahead of Stafford with regards to passing yards nad passing touchdowns, and 10 signal-callers are on both lists. Minnesota Vikings great Fran Tarkenton has 342 touchdowns to Stafford’s 323, and Denver Broncos legend John Elway has 51,475 passing yards, slightly higher than Stafford’s 49,555. (Elway threw for 300 touchdowns, and Tarkenton recorded 47,003 passing yards.)

Eight of those 12 players have won at least one Super Bowl ring. Ryan, who is expected to return to the Falcons in 2022, could still join that list before eventually retiring.

Brady, who leads all quarterbacks in passing yards and passing touchdowns, won an NFL-record seven Super Bowl titles. Montana, who remains one of the most beloved quarterbacks in league history, captured four championships during his time with the San Francisco 49ers. Peyton and Eli Manning, along with Roethlisberger and Elway, each earned two rings.

Favre and Rodgers are the only quarterbacks on that list who only have one ring. However, Rodgers could theoretically add to his total if he returns for the 2022 season.

Although Marino and Tarkenton appeared in at least one Super Bowl, neither won a ring. Sorry for the reminders, Dolphins fans.

But wait, we only listed 11 quarterbacks. Who’s missing?

Stafford still has plenty of time to avoid stealing Philip Rivers’ frustrating record

Los Angeles Chargers legend Philip Rivers retired after the 2020 season, having thrown for 63,440 yards and 421 touchdowns in 244 career games. However, the NC State product only reached one AFC Championship Game and never made it to a Super Bowl.

As of February 2021, Rivers leads all quarterbacks who never reached a Super Bowl in games played, passing yards, and passing touchdowns; as with the earlier numbers, all three totals only apply to the regular season. Stafford trails him by 63 games, 13,485 yards, and 98 touchdowns for those counting at home.

If Stafford doesn’t miss a game and continues his career averages of 4,290 yards and 28 touchdowns per season, he’d potentially pass Rivers in all three categories in 2025. That alone should be enough incentive for the Georgia product to party with the Lombardi Trophy and win on Sunday night.

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