Picture this: Stafford still has something to learn

Matthew Stafford is learning a valuable lesson: Absorbing a new offense is only half the key to success in the NFL. (AP photo)

Let me start this by saying if I was 21 years old with a contract that guarantees me at least $41.7 million and I had a chance to go on a boat ride with several beautiful blonde women, I would be doing EXACTLY what Matt Stafford did this summer.

Well, I would change one thing: The yutz with the camera goes overboard.

Stafford just learned another lesson about the downside of public life. Pictures of him simply enjoying life have surfaced on the Internet. They’re all fairly innocent, even if they do make the average male envious. The closest thing to scandalous is one of him giving the unwholesome “No. 1″ sign to the camera. (Insert joke: That’s something he could never do at Georgia.)

None of this means Stafford: 1) Isn’t mature; 2) Isn’t talented; 3) Can’t lead; 4) Won’t be an outstanding quarterback for the Detroit Lions; 5) Won’t have a solid NFL career. All it affirms is he really knows how to get the most out of his summer vacation.

However . . . (You knew this was coming, didn’t you?)

It does say something that recent successful rookie NFL quarterbacks, the Falcons’ Matt Ryan and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco, have not had similar photos pop-up on websites like Deadspin. Conversely, Matt Leinart, who thus far has been a first-round bust in Arizona, had similar photos of him with a hot tub full of young women surface (including one of him holding up a beer bong). A photo of Michael Vick sitting in the backseat of a limo with what appeared to be a marijuana joint also was in cyberspace a few years back.

Two years ago, pictures of Stafford holding a keg over his head at Talladega Speedway circulated. No, he wasn’t drinking. But it wasn’t a photo the Georgia sports information department was going to rush to slap on the cover of the media guide, either.

It’s all about being aware of the people around you. It’s about the image you project.

Stafford faces unimaginable pressure as the first pick in the draft. He is being viewed as a franchise savior, and he hasn’t even taken a snap, yet. None of us can possibly relate to being in that kind of spotlight. He certainly is entitled, if not expected, to blow off a little steam before he gets started.

But there’s an awareness issue that Stafford needs to recognize and deal with. And I’m pretty sure the Lions aren’t going to be distributing these photos to prospective season-ticket holders.

103 comments Add your comment

Jockstrap Cox

July 31st, 2009
2:02 pm

I’m jealous. I wish he and I were still “spooning” together.

Love,

Joe Cox

DAWG

July 31st, 2009
2:04 pm

who cares? let him enjoy his off time. he wasn’t doing anything to harm his career, nor the Lions.
what would you be doing at age 21 with more money than you know how to spend in a life time?

Testify , Jeff , testify ...

July 31st, 2009
2:07 pm

I agree with the assessment…and am SO grateful for Matt Ryan….his maturity…his work ethic…his leadership capabilities. GO FALCONS!!!

Bryan G.

July 31st, 2009
2:08 pm

So…Stafford was spending his time off hanging out with hot chicks. Maybe chicks just don’t like Ryan or Flacco? Maybe Flacco isn’t smooth with the ladies like Matt is, ya know?

I understand your point…but what a non-issue. I think it’s pretty mature that he didn’t take his 41M to Vegas and “make it rain” a la Pacman, to be honest. At least Staff doesn’t like dog fighting…(yes, MV7 reference!!!!)

EW

July 31st, 2009
2:14 pm

Like most articles by AJC’s bloggers, this one can be titled “No Story Here….But I’ll write one anwyay because I like my paycheck”

JST

July 31st, 2009
2:21 pm

What is the point of being young, handsome, famous and insanely rich if you can’t enjoy a day on the lake with hot chicks….Jeff this is a story only if he is skipping OTAs, driving the boat drunk, etc., otherwise he appears to be doing what seems perfectly reasonable.

CDawg42

July 31st, 2009
2:24 pm

WTF? The guy is 21 with a gazillion bucks in the bank. You’d do this too (I know I would have at 21!). He’s not going to be practicing or studying or watching film all 24 hours out of the day. Non story IMHO but I agree he’s gotta be conscious of image…

dbc

July 31st, 2009
2:25 pm

Leave the poor guy alone. It’s his life — so let him live it. On that note, I caught a replay of the UGA vs. Mich. St. bowl game last night on espn. Let’s just say I like our chances this year with Joe Cox.

Tom

July 31st, 2009
2:25 pm

Money can’t buy happiness (but it can buy your girlfriend some new parts).

I can empathize

July 31st, 2009
2:27 pm

I’m 21 and I do this every weekend. Making money, too.

Jermaine King

July 31st, 2009
2:27 pm

Jeff I know Matt and the girls in the pictures. They weren’t doing anything wrong, just having fun! This should have been a no story!

Peadawg

July 31st, 2009
2:29 pm

EW @ 2:14

HaHa! I totally agree!

Tom

July 31st, 2009
2:31 pm

Jermaine, why didn’t she get *those* while she ws still cheerleading at Sanford?

Bubba Gone Wild

July 31st, 2009
2:31 pm

Looks like a young man enjoying his vacation. There are millions of young people doing the same thing during Spring Break every year in Florida. It’s funny how people are so quick to judge. He’s done nothing wrong in my eyes. I’d be right there with him to provide assistance if needed. Oh yeah, where is his co-pilot? Maybe he fly’s solo, which is even better. You get all the perks.

Brent

July 31st, 2009
2:31 pm

I understand that the “no cameras” thing is probably sound advice, but I don’t think red-blooded American male turns down four or five hot women in bikinis that are asking to have their picture made with him. In fact, if I found out that someone said “no thanks, I would prefer that you lovely ladies not hug on me while your buddy takes a picture.”, I would lose a lot of respect for that person. GATA Stafford

uga_b

July 31st, 2009
2:34 pm

Jeff, judging by the pictures it looks like I have something to learn from Stafford…

AJGREENFAN

July 31st, 2009
2:35 pm

What if that were Vick as rook, Schultz?

reebok

July 31st, 2009
2:35 pm

Tech fan here. No, Stafford doesn’t HAVE to show good judgment as the face of a pro frnachise, but it would be nice. And I say that as a fan who hopes Stafford has a great pro career.

BigMike

July 31st, 2009
2:36 pm

Hell and like he’s playing for a contender. The Lions we are talking about. Next story

Bama Aaron

July 31st, 2009
2:36 pm

No story here other than I would so long to be 21 again… and well much richer!

weston

July 31st, 2009
2:42 pm

>And I’m pretty sure the Lions aren’t going to be distributing these photos to prospective season-ticket holders

LMAO. What century are you from Shultz? Yo, did you know he is SINGLE? This is a guy in some regular run of the mill normal shots showing a man with a woman/several women, that look like any other pictures a man would have taken with a girlfriend, or even a wife, when on a summer trip. You make it sound like he’s been caught in pictures raping a woman, or in pedophile shots, or porno shots. It makes you come across sounding petty and jealous. Maybe you should go back to the Braves blog and write another “cry me a river” article about Tom Glavine.

Rob

July 31st, 2009
2:45 pm

Not only reasonable, fun as all get out. I am insanely jealous.

ESPN BIAS!

July 31st, 2009
2:48 pm

Wasnt one of the girls his girlfriend??

Dooley's Cardiologist

July 31st, 2009
2:50 pm

St. Simons…… your late….this is kind of a UGA football story.

sthrnsrvy

July 31st, 2009
2:53 pm

Not really news to me. Anyone remember the photos surfacing a few years back of Stafford and Joe Cox at Talladega? Stafford loves beautiful women and partaking of a good time, what’s wrong that? Sheesh..

Maxwell Snark

July 31st, 2009
2:53 pm

Well, if I was him, with that fame and contract I would have hit all of them … that day. Of course, he’s 21 and I’m not.

GaCracker

July 31st, 2009
2:53 pm

You call a guaranteed $41.7 million pressure? Yeah right – drink some more “Kool-Aid”!

where r u

July 31st, 2009
2:54 pm

saint simons hasn’t been able to close his jaw yet or zip his pants – how can he type?

Barqs

July 31st, 2009
2:54 pm

Hey, do a google photo search on Kyle Orton and there’s more pix of him drunk with girls than of him playing football.

Chuck

July 31st, 2009
2:55 pm

Yeah, quarterbacks who go on vacations are all huge busts.

Oh wait, that’s completely baseless.

Now quarterbacks who date hot chicks NEVER do a thing in the league.

Oh wait, Tom Brady dated all sorts of hot chicks before he was recently wed. Is he any good?

FALCONS SORRY

July 31st, 2009
2:57 pm

JEFF SHULTZ! THIS TYPE OF DOUBLE STANDARD BEHAVIOR BY THE MEDIA MAKE ME SICK TO MY STOMACH! YOU KNOW THAT IF THIS HAD BEEN DAUNTE CULPEPPER OR MIKE VICK OR SOME OTHER YOUNG ATHLETE THE MEDIA WOULD HAVE CALLED THIS QUARTERBACK STUPID OR IMMATURE OR A THUG OR MAKING ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN WITH THE TRASHY WOMEN ON THAT BOAT! JUST LOOK AT WHAT THE NEWS PEOPLE UP THERE DID TO DAUNTE CULPEPPER WHEN HE WAS ON A BOAT WITH A BUNCH OF NASTY WOMEN TOO! IT NOT ANY DIFFERENT AT ALL THAN WHAT STAFFORD GET CAUGHT DOING! YOU PEOPLE WANT TO GIVE PRO BALL PLAYERS LIKE STAFFORD EVERY BREAK IN THE BOOK JUST BECAUSE OF HOW THAT LOOK EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE PROBABLY UGLIER THAN SIN ON THE INSIDE THAN ANYBODY! YOU KNOW THAT IF AUTHUR BLANK HAD STAFFORD UNDER CONTRACT LIKE THIS HE WOULD HAVE JUST LAUGHED IT OFF AND SAID BOYS WILL BE BOYS! ONE LITTLE PICTURE OF VICK IN A LIMO WITH HIS LADY AND SOMETHING THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN A LITTLE WEED AND PEOPLE ALL FREAK OUT AND WANT TO PUT HIM IN THE ELECTRIC CHAIR! MATT STAFFORD I HOPE YOU ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS! JUST BE GLAD YOU ARE NOT BEING MADE TO SUFFER ON THE COUNT OF HOW YOU LOOK LIKE SO MANY OTHER GREAT ATHLETES HAVE FOR NO REASON FOR DOING THE EXACT SAME THING!

Sting 'em Buzz

July 31st, 2009
2:57 pm

Stafford needs to learn to hit Calvin Johnson in stride.

Herschel Talker

July 31st, 2009
2:58 pm

Schultzie – how many knuckleheads on these blogs can’t tell the difference between “your” and “you’re.” It cheapens my UGA diploma.

How was your Tisha B’Av fast? Good Shabbos.

Doubledawg

July 31st, 2009
2:58 pm

Is your next article going to be about some item posted on perez hilton or tmz? No wonder newspapers are dying off. You have credentials and you write about internet blog photos…

Evil Richt 2009 S.E.C. World Tour: "Banned in Columbus"

July 31st, 2009
2:59 pm

Jeff, Jeff, Jeff . . . these are simply pics are from Stafford’s mission trip this summer to the Virgin Islands.

Barqs

July 31st, 2009
3:00 pm

What must it be like to be able to buy whatever you want and not have to worry about it? What is it like to be able to partake of a different lovely groupie per day? I won’t find out unless my standup act takes off like Seinfeld back in the day.

Dr. Watson

July 31st, 2009
3:02 pm

Falcons Sorry is the same color as the background of this screen. Lily white, but with an uncontrollable urge to stir up $%#%.

The Clerk

July 31st, 2009
3:03 pm

Can’t believe that I will be witnessing a QB/WR combo of of a Bulldog throwing to a Yellow Jacket.

Dooley's Cardiologist

July 31st, 2009
3:04 pm

Sting ‘em Buzz, I couldn’t agree more.

ChipperDoodle

July 31st, 2009
3:05 pm

Matty isn’t too serious about anything but his enormous…wait for it…ego (splat). It got to the point where I dreaded game day with him behind (operative term here) center. Not sorry he’s in Detroit, frankly. He is a Texan, after all. Anyone ever spend much time in Dallas? Cultural wasteland; vast and vacuous. Get me a limo to the Galleria NOW.

Matty Ice

July 31st, 2009
3:06 pm

I’m a guy – but if I was a hot chick – dang straight I would be angling to become “Mrs. $41.7 million Guaranteed”……these girls are trying to earn there money by using their assets. Stafford is taking advantage of being young, famous and rich……everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing – nothing wrong about that. Wow, love the pix – thanks for sharing Schultzie…

Pete

July 31st, 2009
3:07 pm

He can do whatever he wants because he played for UGA. The pictures only give him street credit. It’s not like he was face down in a plate of blow with Tony Montana. God bless Stafford and the $40 million he sported for those blondes.

JRM

July 31st, 2009
3:10 pm

Jeez Shultz, so picture of him and his girlfriend at the lake make him unaware of his situation. If you and your wife leave the house should your boss start wondering about you and if you’re taking care of your business? This is reaching for something to write

All I'm Saying Is...

July 31st, 2009
3:10 pm

Hey Schultz: Hold on to your glasses because: In terms of this posting, I agree with you entirely. And I appreciate the ‘research’ you did by providing evidence of your rant. Keep it up!

LET’S GO FALCONS!
LET’S GO BRAVES!

willie

July 31st, 2009
3:30 pm

This is how 9 out of 10 guys in his situation would act. We Falcons fans are extremely lucky to have gotten that rare 1 out of 10 that is mature beyond his years.

mitch

July 31st, 2009
3:41 pm

Dear Mr. JS–Bryan G. pointed out rightly that it was a non-issue, and he should have added that it was a non-point, also. You ought to be made to read a collection of Falcons Sorry’s blogs all weekend. Your pal, Mitch

REX FERAL

July 31st, 2009
3:41 pm

Where is Saint Simon’s nerd score update?

FLDAWG

July 31st, 2009
3:46 pm

It was the 4th of July, what was everyone else doing on this day? The media try’s to make it seem like he skipped practice and this is what he was doing.

Hillbilly Deluxe

July 31st, 2009
3:56 pm

Never let anybody take your picture. It can only come back to haunt you.

All I'm Saying Is...

July 31st, 2009
3:59 pm

The babe (and her ‘twins’) next to Stafford in pictures #3 and #6 would make any grief from this worth it! I hope you rocked her world all holiday weekend, Matthew!