Los Angeles (AP) — Matthew Stafford received a call this week from a childhood friend who knows a little about waiting a long time to win his first championship.
Clayton Kershaw hopes to go to SoFi Stadium next Sunday for the same long-awaited title that Stafford will lead the Los Angeles Rams (15-5) to finally win the Dodgers in 2020. increase.
“He’s excited about me. That’s what I’m grateful for,” Stafford grinned Thursday. “We didn’t really understand what it was and what we expected. His work is very different from my work. But he’s just excited. It’s cool to do it in the same city as him. “
Kershaw and Stafford grew up together in the Dallas area and attended Highland Park High School, where Kershaw was Stafford’s football center. Approximately 15 years after life and career split, Stafford and Kershaw returned to Los Angeles in 2021.
And Stafford now wants to follow in the footsteps of the car show. Kershaw won his first championship trophy in his thirties after his long career worked towards his goals.
Stafford is leading the Rams against the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium with the chance to complete one of the most impressive first-year runs in the quarterback in recent NFL history. After spending 12 years in Detroit, Stafford has been in the Rams since landing last spring with Sean McVay, Coo Parkup, and his teammates who made his fourth Super Bowl appearance on his steady and effective play. We have solved most of the offensive problems. season.
“He promoted everyone around him,” McBay said after San Francisco’s victory in the NFC Championship Game last Sunday. “He made me a better coach. He made my teammates better. He’s a very nice person. I think you know from the opportunity to interact with him. This guy If you don’t support, something is wrong. “
This Super Bowl berth is not only a testament to Stafford’s decision to leave Detroit, but also the elaborate tricks McBay and general manager Les Sneed need to replace Jared Goff, who wasn’t even the richest. It is also a validation of the decision to carry out. A four-year contract extension given to him by the Rams.
Stafford passed 905 yards in the Rams’ first three playoff games. If he wins 315 yards in the Super Bowl, he will pass the Eli Manning single season playoff record from 2011.
Not bad for a 33-year-old quarterback who hadn’t won a playoff match until last month.
Just as Calvin Johnson teamed up with Stafford in Detroit, Kup became the most productive receiver in football, catching throws from Stafford. Kup and Stafford have fortified their ties with the now-famous breakfast club. This is Kup and Stafford, who just watch a movie every morning at the Rams training facility over breakfast.
Stafford has maintained a steady focus and solid leadership throughout the Rams season. That includes November without a win, when Stafford threw a series of intercepts that upset the MVP’s candidacy.
Quarterbacks took advantage of the opportunity that it seemed that it might never arrive. Before he joined the Rams, arguably the biggest single stage of his football career was Georgia’s victory over Hawaii in the 2008 Sugar Bowl, completing the 11-2 season.
Stafford became humble this week when he remembered his last chance to compete in the championship when he returned to Highland Park in 2005.
“Man, I was young,” Stafford said with a smile. “I didn’t know. But I ran a great rock that day. I didn’t throw a touchdown pass. We won 59-0. So we did it well, but I don’t spend much time thinking about it. I think (Super Bowl) will be a little different stage, but at the same time go out and have fun. I’ll be enjoying Sunday in a few weeks. “
Despite being inexperienced in the playoffs, Stafford quickly understands how to navigate the logistics of the playoffs in February. Ticket request processing was taken over by his wife, Kelly, while Stafford strove to focus solely on football.
Even if Kershaw doesn’t join a group of SoFi stands, Stafford is backed by friends and family who know the distance to this stage in Southern California.
“I have a lot of high school teammates and friends who come to the bunch of playoff games and come to this,” Stafford said. “They have progressed from football games in their lives, and I’m still lucky enough to be able to do that. It’s very special.”
Other AP Super Bowl coverage: https: //apnews.com/hub/super-bowl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL