Overpaid Stat King? "I Don’t Need To Answer To Rich Gannon," Says Stafford

Former NFL MVPs are starting to target Detroit's franchise QB. 

Will Burchfield
November 08, 2018 - 5:59 pm

© Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

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Rich Gannon made headlines this week when he criticized Matthew Stafford for being an "overpaid stat king." Those headlines were lost on Stafford.

"What (is he) saying? I don't even care or know," Stafford said on Thursday when asked about Gannon's comments. 

Upon being filled in, Stafford, per usual, brushed the criticism aside. 

"I don’t need to answer to Rich Gannon," he said. 

On CBS Sports Network's NFL Monday QB, Gannon said, "Can Matthew Stafford ever win in Detroit? I'm getting sick and tired of talking about Matthew Stafford. I mean, the guy is overpaid. He's making north of $25 million, he's been one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league over the last four or five years and he's a stat king. He picks up a lot of yards and production in garbage time," Gannon said.

It was the second time this season that Stafford drew the criticism of a former NFL MVP. Boomer Esiason called Stafford a "locker room lawyer" and criticized his lack of fire in an interview with 97.1 The Ticket last month

Asked why he's such a frequent target of analysts, Stafford shrugged and said, "I don’t know."

"They’re free to talk about whatever they want to talk about, however they want to talk about anybody. I don’t really pay any attention to it, obviously didn’t even know that it happened, so maybe that makes them mad," Stafford joked. "I don’t know, I don’t really have any answer for you. It doesn’t bother me. I answer to the guys in our locker room and our coaches before anybody else." 

One of Gannon's primary criticisms was that Stafford tends to turn it on only when it's too late. Esiason said something similar. 

"The division has been dominated by the Packers and the Vikings, and the reason why the Lions are not a better football team — a big reason why — is the lack of production from Stafford in the first quarter to the third quarter," said Gannon. "Forget about the fourth quarter, take the fourth quarter out of the mix. He just doesn't put his team in position to be competitive and win close games."

Indeed, in the Lions' last three losses, they've entered the fourth quarter with six points, seven points and 10 points.

Asked what he can do to correct the slow starts, Stafford said, "I think it’s on our list of musts every week, is to start fast. That’s as team, and I’m a big part of that team, I understand that. Doing what I can do to help us get points, converting third downs, hitting big shots when we get them, just making sure that when we have those opportunities from the opening kickoff, we’re ready to go. The more I can hit the right throws, make the right checks, the better we’re going to be." 

Stafford's response to Gannon echoed his response to Esiason.

"I respect his opinion," Stafford said at the time. "Whatever he wants to say, he can say. He’s not in our locker room, not with our guys, not with me -- ever. So I don’t put too much credit into that."