Matthew Stafford Quarterbacked Two of the Greatest Wide Receiver Seasons in NFL History
Matthew Stafford just completed one of the best seasons of his career, punctuating it with a Super Bowl victory. He did so with the help of Cooper Kupp who probably had the best season of any wide receiver in NFL history.
This morning on Good Morning Football they tried to put Kupp's season in perspective with this graphic showing the most receiving yards in a single regular season and postseason combined. Turns out, it was a hell of a season. Kupp had 448 more yards than Larry Fitzgerald did in 2008. Jerry Rice and Calvin Johnson were right behind Fitzgerald.
Obviosuly, Kupp got to play in 21 total games with the expanded regular season while averaging 114.5 yards a game. Fitzgerald played in 20 games in 2008 and Rice played in 17 in 1995. You could argue that the most impressive season there is Calvin Johnson's 2012 season where he played 16 regular season games which works out to 122 yards a game.
In the only two postseason games of Johnson's career, he had a total of 17 catches for 296 yards and two touchdowns, so who knows what he could have done with another five games. Especially considering his quarterback that season was... Matthew Stafford.
What does it mean that one quarterback threw all the passes in two of the biggest seasons by wide receivers in NFL history? Hall of Famer Kurt Warner was the one throwing the ball to Larry Fitzgerald. The only season there that might point to the wide receiver needing more credit is Jerry Rice who caught passes from Elvis Grbac for a third of the season.
I choose to believe Kupp and Johnson's incredible seasons were greatly benefited by Stafford. Kupp was unlocked this season with Stafford's arrival the same way that Johnson was when Stafford took over in Detroit. Stafford's first two seasons as starter saw Johnson have the two best seasons of his career, leading the league in receptions once and receiving yards twice.
Stafford had a very good career in Detroit and obviously flourished when there was a great target or two available. What quarterback wouldn't? If you look at the best WR seasons you're almost always going to find a Hall of Fame quarterback on the other end of those catches.
Stafford is going to end up in the top 10 in all-time passing yards and touchdown passes. He's got a Super Bowl and his fingerprints are all over two of the best receiving seasons in league history, including the best. It seems like a pretty good argument for the greatness of Johnson, Kupp and the guy who threw them both all those passes.