Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions have turned into one of the unlikeliest love stories of the NFL, making Goff’s painful divorce from former coach Sean McVay feel like the distant past.
When Rams coach Sean McVay made quarterback Jared Goff feel like an old cardigan under someone’s bed, the Detroit Lions put him on and said he was their favorite. And the feeling was mutual.
Goff’s winding and treacherous path to where he is now, the confident helm of the Lions franchise, wasn’t always going to have a happy destination. It still may not, depending on how the Lions handle his future extension in the coming years (Goff still has two years and $52.95 million on the extension he signed back in 2019).
But the most important fact for Goff right now in Detroit is: the Lions value him. They care.
The same couldn’t be said during the late years of Goff’s tenuous relationship with Sean McVay on the Rams, when McVay was practically pointing his finger at Goff in every press conference in Goff’s final year in LA in 2020.
Goff’s tenure on the Rams glittered at first as the former first-round pick earned Pro Bowls in consecutive seasons in 2017 and 2018. He became the youngest quarterback to win an NFC Championship game, the product of his precocious quarterback play and McVay’s savvy tactics.
But all that glitters was not gold, and Goff found it difficult to sustain a high level of success. Over the years, he lost games and lost confidence, and he ultimately lost his starting job to backup John Wolford. McVay had a pretty clear message for Goff at that point: You’re not wanted here.
Lions have given Jared Goff newfound confidence in 2023
So, the Rams and the Lions do business. Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff. After that fateful quarterback swap, Goff needed a year to steady himself in Detroit, where he was surrounded by new offensive members and placed within a wholly different scheme.
It wasn’t until the 2022 season when the happy marriage between Goff and the Lions started to take shape.
Last year, Goff helped the Lions achieve a fifth-ranked scoring offense and nearly secure a playoff spot (not to mention, that uber-satisfying Packers beating). Newly promoted Lions offensive coordinator, Ben Johnson, was hailed as a sneaky good head coaching candidate and head coach Dan Campbell remained Dan Campbell, the rhapsodic, infectious, and lovable face of a rising franchise.
Seven up-and-down years into his NFL career, the 28-year-old Goff arguably looks like his best version of himself, and he has the Lions to thank for it.
Goff recently told The Athletic:
"“The more reps you get, the more you can do. As you grow older, your capacity becomes greater. On top of that, I’m in the prime of my career. I’m as strong as I’ll be as a man. And with more on my plate, it allows me to be extremely in control of everything.”"
With another season under Johnson and Campbell and with an upgraded supporting cast, Goff is in a new era, as Taylor Swift would call it. His Reputation era, which, for all the non-Swifties out there, is basically his comeback era.
Yes, the Lions did draft Hendon Hooker in April. The franchise will deal with that chip when it falls. Right now, Goff is their man of the moment. And from Goff’s perspective, it’s just nice to be wanted again.