Dismissed in Detroit, Matthew Stafford made a new life for himself with the Los Angeles Rams. Now, a scorned Odell Beckham Jr. joins him for a second act.
The groundbreaking news broke, then conflicting reports emerged: the Los Angeles Rams reportedly signed coveted wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
It’s a shocking decision by a team that was entirely removed from the conversation — the Rams were never named as an interested party, nor were they widely considered to need someone like OBJ in their offense. After all, Cooper Kupp alone is breaking fantasy football records this season with his unprecedented connection with Matthew Stafford.
Still, the Rams acquisition makes sense: this is one of the best teams in the NFC and one of the strongest Super Bowl contenders in the NFL. On offense and defense, this is a solid team that has what it takes to make it to the biggest game — and now, that offense is even better.
It would be the first Super Bowl appearance for both Matthew Stafford and Odell Beckham Jr., who both languished in undesirable positions on the NFL’s worst teams. Drafted to the Lions in 2009, Stafford went overlooked for more than a decade simply because he played, and could not win, in a tormented Detroit. Beckham Jr. joined the league in 2014 as an electric receiver for the New York Giants, but he alone could not revive the struggling franchise.
As both meet as teammates in Los Angeles, Stafford and Beckham Jr. share a pained past and a shot at redemption as they endeavor to bring their 7-2 team all the way.
Matthew Stafford left Lions for Los Angeles
Although Matthew Stafford doesn’t have the name recognition of Tim Tebow, Stafford actually ranked higher than Tebow as one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in the Class of 2006.
Stafford left the University of Georgia and the top pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, going to the Detroit Lions.
Stafford is not so different from fellow Lions Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson: Stafford displayed Hall of Fame talent that was buried on a franchise that just didn’t get better. Even with the strong quarterback, Stafford alone could not take this team beyond the first round of the NFL playoffs.
Still, he was loyal to his team, as he stayed in Detroit for the first 11 years of his career. It was only when the Lions traded Stafford to the Rams for Jared Goff that Stafford finally enjoyed an offense that could secure wins.
A prolific gunslinger, Stafford has been making Patrick Mahomes throws since Mahomes was in middle school, but he hardly made highlight reels before arriving in Los Angeles. Mid-way through the season, the Rams already have a better record than the Lions have had in the last three seasons. Currently, the team sits at the bottom of the league with a winless 0-8 record.
Matthew Stafford stats could be even more insane with OBJ
Although there are certainly parallels to their stories — both Stafford and Beckham Jr. have had their potential perpetually unrealized — Beckham Jr. saw more of the limelight for his talent. Debuting in 2014, OBJ became an instant celebrity in the NFL’s best market as he garnered fame for the playmaking that made him a star in Baton Rouge.
As a rookie, Beckham Jr. made the one-handed catch that showed the world what he could do. It’s not that no one had ever done it before, but the contortion, control and finesse OBJ displayed on that play put the league on notice. This was one of the NFL’s best wide receivers, and he gave New York hope.
Unfortunately, his time in NYC came to a bitter end as Beckham Jr. left New York for Cleveland as he joined close friend and former LSU roommate Jarvis Landry. It was a wonder how OBJ and Landry would both fit on a Browns offense, but that never really became an issue — because Beckham Jr. hardly played for the Browns. For anyone who continued to pick him in fantasy football, it seemed that OBJ only had big games here and there, but there was never the consistency of any elite NFL receiver.
Beckham Jr. missed the worst years with the Browns, and while the team is finally getting strong enough to contend for playoffs, OBJ has never truly been a part of it.
When reports emerged that Beckham Jr. was unhappy and the Browns would release him, there was a cold, swift resolution to the two-year experiment in Cleveland.
But with the end of one act lies the promise of another as OBJ hopes to make a new name for himself in Tinsel Town.
How OBJ and Stafford will connect in Los Angeles
Both Stafford and Beckham Jr. hold NFL records, but neither has developed a truly Hall of Fame worthy career.
That’s not to say that either of these players lacks the capability of gracing the hall as football legends. Sadly, neither of them has the resume at this point to make a true argument to become enshrined in bronze for posterity.
But that could all change with a couple of years in Los Angeles. Sure, Tom Brady has built his own NFL superteam in Tampa Bay, and they won the championship in their first Brady-led season. But like last season, the Rams defeated the Buccaneers in the regular season. This year, it could be Matthew Stafford taking his new team to the Super Bowl, with a one-handed game-winning catch made by none other than OBJ.
The Los Angeles connection is the future both of these players have deserved all along — and now, they can finally ball out as the world looks on.