Lions fans start early, boo Stafford BEFORE the pick


Hey, Boss. Can Stafford lead Detroit to the Promised Land? (Photo courtesy of Southern Tracks.)

Hey, Bruce: Can Stafford lead the Lions to the Promised Land?

First, my apologies. I did not file a Countdown last week. I was still recuperating from the Masters, when one of Angel Cabrera’s playoff shots bounced off two trees, a moose, a rooftop, a drain pipe, two Democrats (how did they get through the gates?) and then off the side of my head just before rolling into the hole, just as Bobby Jones envisioned.

 Sometimes things don’t go as expected. Like NFL drafts. Early picks for splat. Late picks turn into Pro Bowlers. And whatever the Detroit Lions do usually ends up a punchline.

  Which leads me to Matthew Stafford. Did you know Lions fans apparently don’t want him?

  I dunno. Maybe they saw the Florida game.

  Details follow. But first, a disclaimer: This Countdown is a tribute to Bruce Springsteen, who plays Philips Arena on Sunday. I’ve seen him countless times over the last 28 years. Really. I don’t count. Somehow, it makes me seem less obsessive.

Did I tell you I own three of his broken guitar strings?

10. Brilliant Disguise

Can Matthew Stafford throwing to Calvin Johnson be bad? (Brant Sanderlin /

Can Matthew Stafford throwing to Calvin Johnson be bad? (Brant Sanderlin /

It’s NFL draft week. So, as always, assume everything you hear is a lie. As Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said Tuesday: “I think the overriding theme in most draft rooms is how important being clandestine is. You just never want to play your hand.”

So in that sense, it’s not surprising the Detroit Lions have not yet made a public declaration about Matthew Stafford. But why suddenly all the hate? Lions fans at a function Monday chanted, “Don’t draft Stafford! Don’t draft Stafford!”

Read on.


9. Your Own Worst Enemy

I’d be miserable if I was a Lions fan. For starters, that would mean living in Detroit. The Lions have had eight straight losing seasons. They were 0-16 last year. They’ve had so many draft blunders — Joey Harrington, Mike Williams, Charles Rogers, Terry Fair, Drew Stanton — you’d think Pete Babcock was hiding in their war room. So it probably wasn’t surprising Monday when the Lions unveiled their new logo and uniforms that their fans chanted, “Curry, Curry,” as in Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry. According to Detroit Free Press writer Nicholas Cotsonika, team president Tom Lewand tried to crack a joke: “I’m going to pretend that sounded like Barry,” as in Barry Sanders. The anti-Stafford chants followed.

8. Working On A Dream

This was Joey Harrington when people expected a lot, unlike when he was a Falcons. (Curtis Compton /

This sums Joey Harrington as a first-round pick. (Curtis Compton /

Look, I understand the trepidation when it comes to drafting Stafford No. 1. He failed to come up in some big games. But I have a hard time seeing how Matthew Stafford throwing to Calvin Johnson doesn’t translate to success – even if it does make Georgia and Georgia Tech fans a bit queasy.

7. Living In The Future

Overall, here’s the “duh” of the Falcons’ weekend: They’ll draft for defense. Dimitroff’s decision to part with Lawyer Milloy and Keith Brooking sent the message that the team needs to get younger and faster. (Milloy, by the way, has yet to be signed by another team, and he showed up as a “guest secondary coach” at the University of Washington’s spring game.) But mock drafts are all over the board. The most prevalent names of late have been Illinois cornerback Vontae Davis or Southern Cal linebacker Clay Matthews. But of’s four experts, including former AJC staffer Steve Wyche, three have the Falcon taking Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew (the other: Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins. If your Dimitroff, you love the confusion. Dimitroff: “Some [mocks] are close. Some throw out players in the mix.” But we’re most interested in what we feel as a team.” Well. That didn’t give away too much.

6. (They’re) Going Down

After the Braves started the season 5-1, I’m sure I heard somebody on the radio talk about the playoffs, and winning the division, and possibly overthrowing Lichtenstein. But they’re 1-6 since, they just lost to the 1-10 Nationals, the remains of reliever Blaine Boyer were traded to St. Louis and catcher Brian McCann has blurred vision, which I’m pretty sure is a significant problem when part of your job description is catching every pitch. Wow. And it’s only April. Might want to grab some Dramamine before May. UPDATE: McCann is heeeeeeealed! A link to Carroll Rogers’ story.

5. Radio Nowhere

The NHL playoffs are underway. Somewhere else. (Oh look! Transition!)

4. The Price You Pay

Don Waddell once was a promising prospect, as well as a promising GM. But 10 years later...

Don Waddell once was a promising prospect. Also a promising GM. But 10 years later...

Thrashers general manager Don Waddell says he fully expects to be back with all of his powers intact. Silence from ownership seemingly confirms as much. OK, look. The team made a nice little run late in the season with some young players. But they still finished with the fourth-worst record in the NHL. They allowed the second-most goals. (Oh wait. That was an improvement. Never mind.) They’ve missed the playoffs in eight out of nine seasons. There’s a word that seems to have escaped some people: accountability. The franchise has a significant marketing problem. Results and marketing problems usually mandate change. But I guess that’s only when somebody cares.

3. She’s (Not) The One

Mentioned a while back I was going going to follow some celebrities on Twitter. Added Kim Kardashian, underground video star and I think still the girlfriend of Reggie Bush, just to see how many brain cells I could burn. She hasn’t disappointed. She has 408,888 followers, only slightly ahead of me. Among the recent “Twits,” are: “PLEASE HELP ME! I am so sunburned! I fell asleep with huge glasses on yesterday! This tan line is not ok!!!” And: “I’m in love with Britney Spears!!!” (hey, now!).

Just another day in the life of Kim Kardashian (via Twitter).

Just another day in the life of Kim Kardashian (via Twitter).

And then there’s this picture, which she too of herself on a recent typical Kim Kardashian day. Wonder if Reggie Bush has introduced her to a “Thighmaster.”

2. Waitin’ On A Sunny Day (and TV)

The first three games of the Hawks-Miami series are stretched ridiculously over seven days, as the NBA bows to the demands of television executives and their desires for the most weekend games possible. But if you’re counting dollars for the Hawks, you’re not complaining. The three days between Games 1 (Sunday) and 2 (Wednesday) means more time to sell tickets, which isn’t easy in a down economy. The Hawks have a hot product but a low season-ticket base. Coach Mike Woodson and players would love a sweep. But the accounting department wouldn’t mind a seven-game series and four home games.

1. No Surrender

Turner attorney Jim Lamberth called a jury’s recent award of $281 million to once potential Hawks and Thrashers owner David McDavid “drastically wrong” and “grossly excessive.” Just one question: If Turner attorneys didn’t spend so much time thumbing through a thesaurus to craft an argument, would they have done a better job in the original court case over the franchise sale? And speaking of “grossly excessive,” what do their billable hours amount to?

Jeff Schultz can be reached via email (, Facebook, Tweeter (SchultzAJC) or carrier pigeon (make a right off 400).

121 comments Add your comment


April 21st, 2009
2:17 pm

You’re just a sleazy person… Cabera missed one thing, hitting you upside that steel plate inside of your bald head…

And for everyone living on the M24, M12, 75, 94, and 96… BOO!!! They don’t want Matt “Corky” Stafford!!!

New week, same old garbage…



April 21st, 2009
2:26 pm


April 21st, 2009
2:39 pm

What is it with lame middle aged guys and their obsession with Brice Springstein?

Seriously, it’s like a prerequisite to those your age who think they are hip.

Get a life, Schultz


April 21st, 2009
2:40 pm

Lions fans are showing the same savvy talent evaluation that’s been the hallmark of their organization for a decade now. Granted, they’d perhaps get more immediate bang for their buck with Curry but if they think they’ll have the opportunity down the road to find someone with the same or even comparable arm strength/smarts that Stafford brings to the table, they’re nuts.

The Ole Ball Coach

April 21st, 2009
2:42 pm

I seen alot of Falcon fans last year yelling do not Draft Ryan
LOL ……remember…….. They wanted a DT from LSU………..


April 21st, 2009
2:45 pm

Jeff – I definitely don’t hate Stafford – I hope he has a fine NFL career. But I’ve seen this movie before with Chuck Long, Andre Ware, and Harrington. You can’t blame the fans for being wary of picking him. Years of boneheaded draft decisions by Matt Millen have created this sentiment. GO LIONS! Draft Curry or Jason Smith!


April 21st, 2009
2:46 pm

Detroit needs a QB, you can always draft another LB later in the rounds. I think the Braves are in for a long season. After watching them lose the Nats last night, my doubts grow stronger every day. Falcons need to stick with a first round LB draft pick.


April 21st, 2009
2:51 pm

there ARE lions fans that live outside detroit. myself in seattle, for example. after hearing that there’s a THIRTY PERCENT chance stafford will pan out, i’m on the smith/curry wagon for good. you just CAN NOT justify taking stafford with the odds stacked against us that much making it work. you can’t. we have a crater at MLB and curry would, at the very least, reduce that to a mouse hole. gotta either draft smith or curry. no stafford. wait until next year to grab the QB since we’re not gonna win more than 4 games this year.


angry banker

April 21st, 2009
2:52 pm

not a huge Kardashian fan – but I love the side boob! Great work Mr. Shultz

angry banker

April 21st, 2009
2:54 pm

does anyone remember all the Atlanta fans that wanted Glen Dorsey over Matt Ryan last year? How about all the fans that booed philly for picking McNabb (guess they wanted Tim Couch or Akili Smith)

QBs are really hard to pick from the draft – and most bust. But you have to take a chance and if you’re Detroit you’ve got to be willing to roll the dice.


April 21st, 2009
2:59 pm

Matthew Stafford = Joey Harrington. You UGA fans need to get over yourselves. He was a decent college quarterback. He is not the second coming of Dan Marino.

And even if he was, the Lions would ruin him.

[...] -Lions’ fans boo Stafford before he is selected [...]


April 21st, 2009
3:07 pm

Detroit fans trying to choose their 1st round pick is about like Philly fans booing the selection of Donovan McNabb because they wanted Ricky Williams….although they couldn’t do worse than Matt Millen has done over the past several years. In Detroit Stafford will take a beating like Bartkowski took with the Falcons for years, until they finally got some players around him….only Stafford’s not as big.

The Trashers need to clean house….find a smart hockey guy to run the team and let him pick a professional coach…..hopefully one who knows something about defense. I don’t know much about hockey, but even I can see that our goaltenders are getting shelled regularly at point blank range.

Bruce Springsteen sucks….he wasn’t all that good when he was good. Now he’s just another old guy who can’t sing, hanging on to his little cult of followers.

Art Vandelay

April 21st, 2009
3:07 pm

I was one of those Falcons fans calling for them to draft Dorsey. I didn’t know enough about Ryan to have a decent opinion of him, and I’d seen Dorsey run roughshod over the SEC pretty much any time he wanted to. That said, the Detroit situation is different. Ryan has always had the reputation of being an overachiever of sorts — constantly studying the game, learning coverages and trying to improve himself mentally. Unfortunately for Stafford, he’s gotten this far on freakish athletic ability, but hasn’t shown that he’s ready for the mental aspects of the NFL. He’s had plenty of really good games, but he’s also had enough brain farts to make me really uncertain about his future.


April 21st, 2009
3:08 pm

Drafting a LB or OL with the first pick is going to send the message that Detroit is happy with just guaranteeing mediocrity rather than rolling the dice for greatness. As a Georgia fan however, while it would be nice to have a player go #1 overall, at the same time, Stafford’s long term success may be better assured with a club like Seattle which at the very least has demonstrated some recent competence. Even with Greg Knapp on staff.


April 21st, 2009
3:09 pm

I was at augusta national too, I’m not sure how a male made it through the gates with a purple sparkly eagle shirt and capri pants but that eternal loser that screams “get in the hole” on tee shots was all over. The Tiger/Phil crowd had a Happy Gilmore esque feel to it.


April 21st, 2009
3:11 pm

I’m w/Jeff – if they can protect him there’s MORE than enough talent between those two to put Stafford & Johnson among the all-time QB/WR tandems (I’m talking Bradshaw/Swan, Montana/Rice, Aikman/Irvin, etc). there’s certainly no guarantees in the NFL but imagine someone w/Stafford’s strength, accuracy & touch throwing to someone w/Calvin’s size/speed & hands? I wanna see that! (though I could care less about the Lions)


April 21st, 2009
3:14 pm

Lion fans are becoming as dumb as the Fords. It might be called the Harrington factor. I never really cared for Harrington after that Times SQ billboard for Heisman. I was embarrassed for him on that one. Besides Stafford won at Georgia with 1) a cobbled up OL and 2) somewhat worhtless defense at times. Which makes him a perfect fit in Detroit. If the pick was anywhere above #5 then go for the OL or the LB. But you just don’t spend #1 money on those positions. Sure Miami did but they had a QB and a tuna. None of the guys coming out next year are as good as Stafford. Duante takes the beating this year while Staff learns. For Pete’s sake Detroit has three picks in the top 33 I think. #20 take the OL or LB there. If you fail this year you can stock up again next year without spending the big money again.


April 21st, 2009
3:24 pm

Your so creative to take a shot at the city of Detroit. We could really show you Jeff, how to be an actual thriving sports city.

Jack G.

April 21st, 2009
3:28 pm

chiefs fan

April 21st, 2009
3:38 pm

Trade you Dorsey for Ryan straight up?

Joey Porter

April 21st, 2009
3:38 pm

Drew the truth stanton is why Detroit doesn’t need stafford. stafford couldn’t carry stanton’s jock strap on his best day.

Stanton is the heir apparent to duante.

Johnny H

April 21st, 2009
3:38 pm

Lions have fans???????????


April 21st, 2009
3:40 pm

My honest opinion is that Matthew should have stayed in school and played behind the best OL ever of his 4 years in Athens. Now he faces the prospect of becoming David Carr II behind a patchwork OL and getting sacked 90 times in one year.

I hope he gets passed over until pick 15-25 and gets drafted by a team where he can be a backup for a couple of years and then take over. Play behind Hasselback in Seattle for a little while and then become the starter or go to Denver and maybe start right away but be on a team with talent.

Either way, he is rich. He could have been rich after one more year in school and might have gotten an SEC title too.


April 21st, 2009
3:40 pm

I agree, Stafford to Johnson is money.


April 21st, 2009
3:41 pm

I am surprise that there are not more homers on this blog. But the ones here certainly are not disappointing. Detroit needs to build defense then go after a QB. Stafford just doesn’t have the IT factor.


April 21st, 2009
3:43 pm

Jeff -

“Thighs” are not the part Kim is famous for. Google, brother.

Voice of Reason

April 21st, 2009
3:51 pm

Bartkoski was only 1 inch taller yet nearly 20 lbs lighter than stafford so I wouldn’t say he is smaller.

Also, Curry did not play MLB in college so therefore he would have to make a position change. An OT does not make since to pay 1st pick money to. A QB and maybe a RB are the only positions that have the potential of making a huge impact on a team. A LB for the first pick that didn’t play the same postition in college…. that does sound a lot like a pick Detroit would make. sounds like maybe their fans are as dumb as their front office has been.

Voice of Reason

April 21st, 2009
3:57 pm

If Stanton is so good, how come he hasn’t won the job for two years and you had Dan “run out of the back of the endzone” Orlovsky playing ahead of him? Oh, maybe he will just suddenly be good because he was an early draft pick… like Joey Harrington

Voice of Reason

April 21st, 2009
3:59 pm

oh yeah, and drew stanton’s dad is named Gaylord… that in itself disqualifies him from being a good QB.


April 21st, 2009
4:05 pm

Dear Mr. JS–I swear I didn’t have no idea they was abooing Stafford ’till I read this colyum. Otherwise, this time, not. Your pal, Leland

Monticello Dawg

April 21st, 2009
4:07 pm

Some differences between Stafford and Chuck Long, Andre Ware, and Joey Harrington: Pretty sure Long, Ware, Harrington do not have the arm Stafford has, doubt if they made 38 on the Wonderlic, and none of them were battle-tested in hostile SEC arenas against SEC defenses.

Matt Millen

April 21st, 2009
4:14 pm

Duante is the one getting beat up this year not Stafford if he is chosen.

Joey, rumor has that Stanton doesn’t even wear a jockstrap because he doesn’t need one. Didn’t know that when we drafted her.

qb draftees

April 21st, 2009
4:26 pm

seems like a better formula for building a team is to go out and get a free agent qb with some saavy and experience, while drafting players at other positions.

RC Cola and a Moon Pie

April 21st, 2009
4:26 pm

Jeff – thanks for the pic of Kardashian. That was a nice respite for the long workday.
The good thing about being Matt Stafford is it won’t matter who drafts you, you will still get to live the dream…

Ramblin Wrecker

April 21st, 2009
4:28 pm

I don’t know exactly who the Falcons will draft in the first round but I do know two things for certain:

1) Brandon Pettigrew will not be picked by the Falcons
2) They will not pick at #24

Pettigrew has character issues and Arthur Blank isn’t about to pay anybody with character concerns guaranteed millions. Not to mention the fact that TE is not even close to the team’s biggest need. I believe the soonest the Falcons would draft a TE is the 3rd or 4th round. Mularkey’s offense is not predicated on throwing more than 40 balls to a TE. That’s why spending first round money on a TE or trading a second round pick for Tony Gonzalez (and having to pay his salary and placate his need for the ball) is not at all likely for Thomas Dimitrov to pull the trigger on. My opinion is that old buddies Dimitrov and Scott Pioli of the Chiefs are stirring the pot about Tony Gonzalez for mutual benefit. Pioli gets the word out that he might deal Gonzalez and a 2nd rounder plus some sweetner might get a deal done. Dimitrov gets to throw the rest of the NFL off thinking he’s hot for a TE, so he can entice someone to trade up in front of him (or with him) in order to secure Pettigrew.

Dimitrov is going to move around to get the guy they want, after seeing how the board is setting up. Most likely I think they move back and add another second or third round pick (because that’s where NFL teams are built, in those rounds) and pick up a guy like Louis Delmas at safety or Evander Hood at DT. I’ve heard Dimitrov speak of how a great safety can change your defense and make it a championship caliber unit. I think a run stopping DT is also in that category of importance. And I think it bears out in how the Falcons went about free agency. They released Lawyer Milloy and Keith Brooking, and let Grady Jackson sign with the Lions. But which position was filled by a free agent? LB was. Michael Peterson was signed to backfill Brooking at weakside. But they didn’t sign a safety or a DT. That tells me that those two positions are ones that they will fill in the draft. And the way things seem to play out in the mock drafts is that there isn’t likely to be a BJ Raji or Peria Jerry left at #24 and none of the safeties seem to be rated as worth taking until the tail end of round one or early second. So I feel the Falcons are likely to move back to get a DT or S, or if Dimitrov thinks someone like Peria Jerry is what their defense needs, I see him moving up a spot or two to get him (just like they got Sam Baker).

Needless to say, Dimitrov is not likely to do what all these mock drafters have been predicting.

1980 revisited

April 21st, 2009
4:30 pm

Bruce is a left-wing loon that time has passed by and the same for his fans. Falcons are the real boss.


April 21st, 2009
4:36 pm

qb draftees, doesn’t seem like anybody wants the first pick this year so getting that saavy Duante Culpepper to step is what Detroit is doing. Detroit could just load up on everything else that they need if they could trade down. Regardless if Stafford ends up in Detroit I hope the fans support him. He definitely wouldn’t be the worst thing that ever happened for Detroit nor would it be his fault that they selected him. One thing for certain you won’t see repeat of a Crybaby Eli Manning not wanting to go there and play. He’ll take that jersey and wear it proudly.

A Good Thing

April 21st, 2009
4:38 pm

Stafford should be so lucky to go to any other team than the Lions…thanks Lions fans, you could save Stafford’s NFL career!


April 21st, 2009
4:38 pm

Of course 30 mil guaranteed can make you do shamless things.

Reno 911

April 21st, 2009
4:40 pm

Does anyone else think that the new Lions logo and uniform look like a team from the bygone World League (WLAF- popularly referred to as “we laugh”)? Not that I like the old Lions logos and unis, either; just sayin’.


April 21st, 2009
4:45 pm

I really liked that Springsteen song “Horn in the who S Ahhh”. Catchy tune. “Longlegged spiders in who S Ahhhh”.

RC Cola and a Moon Pie

April 21st, 2009
4:52 pm

Kalamazoo – i thought that Eli didn’t want to go to San Diego??? maybe i’m wrong…


April 21st, 2009
4:53 pm

Amen to that SimpleDawg – Springsteen does suck.


April 21st, 2009
4:57 pm

Great, Lions please don’t draft Stafford. He deserves a better team and a better start to his NFL career.

the real OLD GOLD

April 21st, 2009
4:59 pm

These guys in Detroit are idiots… I mean, what do they want instead? They are wasting Calvin Johnson’s brightest years with terrible throwing QB’s.


April 21st, 2009
5:03 pm

What UGA QB has done anything in the NFL but hold a clipboard? Fran, Fran, Fran the Man. Spend 40 million on Stafford? I don’t think so. Get a servicable QB in free agency and spend the money on more players. Sell that PICK, Sell that Pick. What is his name J. Russell? What a winner he was. Sell the Pick and try to get the most for your money.

Ted Striker

April 21st, 2009
5:04 pm

1) On Stafford & the Detroit fans. Atlanta fans were slightly warmer to an unproven Matt Ryan. But we didn’t have neighborhood houses selling for $100…or the region’s main employer looking at bankruptcy after a Federal bailout…following a NFL worst 0-16 worst season. I don’t blame them, really. Jesus Christ could play QB, LB, DT, and CB — and still be a controversial pick for the Lions.

2) Re: Kim Kardashian (sorry, I skipped the rest of your top notch sports analysis). I’ve seen smaller drumsticks on Foghorn Leghorn. Yes, I’d probably still round third base with her and slide into home — but not without a HAZMAT suit.

3) check back with me later. It’s happy hour.


April 21st, 2009
5:07 pm

And remind us Pi$$forbrains, what GT QB has EVER amounted to anything in the NFL???


April 21st, 2009
5:22 pm

It wont surprise me if the Lions wont draft another WR.