Talk about a double standard.
Hard to deny that it doesn’t play out in the NFL, a place where the playing field is supposed to be level. It’s supposed to be a place we hope the rest of society can get to in a perfect world — where the best person for the job actually gets it. Yes, regardless of race.
It’s how this country can be 76.3 percent white while the NFL is 70 percent Black.
But there are times when you still have to take a closer look and wonder to yourself if the league is always fair and honest in evaluating players with the same skill and talent.
This is definitely one of those times.
A Black quarterback with the same stats as Matt Stafford through his first five years would be considered a bum, a bust. That QB would probably be out of a starting gig and be a seldom-used backup making little money.
Oh, wait a minute. That Black QB is Jameis Winston.
On the other hand, Stafford was allowed to keep his job, earning millions and millions of dollars while not winning one playoff game or division title for the Lions in his 12 seasons in Detroit.
Now, Stafford — who was shipped to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Jared Goff — is viewed as a savior in La-La Land.
Stafford is officially the Teflon QB. Just listen to the gushing commentary from NFL analysts about how great he is. Often, it sounds like they are talking about Aaron Rodgers.
There have been more excuses made for why Stafford failed in Detroit than all the untimely interceptions he has thrown in his career.
In Tampa, Winston was simply discarded, tossed out with the trash.
But an honest look at both quarterbacks will tell you they were basically the same player through their first five seasons in the league.
These stats cover the first five years of both of their careers. For Stafford, 2010 was taken out because of his injury, and his sixth year in 2015 was added in its place.
Winston, 27, was cut by the Tampa Bay Bucs after last season. He left the franchise as its all-time leader in passing yards and passing TDs.
For people who have forgotten, and have only focused on his 30 interceptions in 2019, Winston’s career got off to a great start. He was just the third rookie to throw for over 4,000 yards.
Over the next four seasons, he continued to excel and set career marks and franchise records.
In 2019, his final season in Tampa Bay, Winston led the NFL in passing yards, completions and attempts. He had 33 touchdowns and the league-high 30 picks. Without question, a bad number.
Still, Winston has talent. It’s the decision-making that needs to be worked on.
That’s the difference.
Despite not winning in Detroit, just like Winston in Tampa Bay, Stafford was given the chance to play on, and improve. Winston was shown the door and signed on as a backup quarterback with the New Orleans Saints.
For the record, Peyton Manning, in his first season with the Indianapolis Colts threw a league-high 28 picks. In fact, he had 100 interceptions over his first five seasons — more than Winston.
Somehow, Winston is treated as if were the absolute worst quarterback to play the game, and teams aren’t willing to give him time or guidance to correct his mistakes, like Stafford was given.
Let’s be frank — there is no way a Black quarterback would have been able to stick around 12 seasons in the NFL on the same team and not be held accountable for never winning a playoff game. With Stafford under center, the Lions went 0-3 in the postseason.
Despite being the league’s No. 1 overall draft pick in 2009, Stafford didn’t elevate his teammates, didn’t make them better. In fact, lesser quarterbacks have been able to get their team victories they had no business getting.
Heck, even backup Nick Foles played the game of his life and helped the Philadelphia Eagles win a Super Bowl.
This year in the playoffs, Winston, in his first playoff action in his career, threw one pass for the Saints. It was a 56-yard TD strike.
Yet, all the fuss has been made about Stafford and his wonderful career.
It makes no sense.