Matthew Stafford is finally a Super Bowl champion, and he took a moment to shout out Detroit Lions fans who stuck with him to the end.
It was a sight that Detroit Lions fans not only dreamed of but knew would happen: Matthew Stafford hoisting the Lombardi Trophy as a Super Bowl champion.
Rather than doing it in the Motor City, however, Stafford won his Super Bowl wearing Los Angeles Rams colors. That didn’t mean he wasn’t still doing it for fans back in Detroit who never stopped believing in him.
Both Stafford and Lions fans went through absolute hell together, literally and figuratively. The losing was the most obvious of the suffering, but the Stafford family went through even more during their time in Detroit. Back in 2019, Kelly Stafford needed 12-hour surgery to remove a tumor in her brain and through it all Lions fans were there to show their support in ways that extended far beyond a football field.
It’s something that the Stafford’s never forgot, and the show of support ahead of Super Bowl 56 from a fan base who couldn’t be further away from the big game was a sign that Detroit hadn’t forgotten about its bond with the Stafford’s.
Matthew Stafford sends a message to Lions fans after Super Bowl victory
After the game, Matthew Stafford sat down with NFL Network’s Chris Rose and gave a heartfelt message to Lions fans who continued to cheer him on even after he was traded last January.
“It was amazing, there’s no reason for them to cheer for me anymore and the fact that they did was just a true testament to who they are as people and who they are as fans,” Stafford said. “To have that support all the way across the country here playing in this game means the world to me and my wife. They helped us through a bunch of tough times and are a huge reason why I’m sitting here today.”
Unlike most stars Detroit has had over its tumultuous existence, the Stafford’s never spoke an unkind word about the city, the franchise, or its fans. Kelly went so far as to thank fans in an episode of her podcast, The Morning After with Kelly Stafford which was just as heartfelt as the message Matthew sent after the game.
“I love y’all,” Kelly said. “You can’t put into words what y’all have meant to us in the 12 years that we spent there, but even now the support that we’re getting from you guys, you guys will always be our family, that will always be our home. As I’ve said before, we had all of our kids there, we grew up there, we became a family there. That place has a massive part of our hearts, Matthew included.
“It truly means the world to both of us. I got tagged in so many things of Michigan people, you know, in their Stafford Michigan jerseys saying we’re rooting you on and stuff like that, so we hear it and we feel it. We really do, so thank you guys.”
It could be defined as tragic that this moment wasn’t shared in the traditional sense, but it says a lot about Lions fans that not being actively involved in Matthew Stafford’s Super Bowl glory didn’t make them enjoy it any less.