Jared Goff was the first pick by the Rams in the 2016 NFL Draft, but when in St. Louis and then Los Angeles, Goff never seemed to attain the respect or the backing of his coaches and teammates.
In five seasons with the Rams, Goff made the Pro Bowl twice and took the Rams to the playoffs three times. They even made the Super Bowl in 2018 where they lost to Tom Brady at the New England Patriots 13-3. After that game, Sean McVay did not believe that the Rams could win a Super Bowl with Goff under center.
Since being traded to the Detroit Lions in a blockbuster trade for Matthew Stafford, Goff has performed very well for Coach Dan Campbell's offense. He is one victory away from a return trip to the Super Bowl, and the first one for the team in the Motor City.
Goff once told ESPN that he was hurt by the trade and felt that the Rams gave up on him too early. He has been playing with a chip on his shoulder ever since.
"I think it will never leave me," Goff told ESPN in 2024. "and I think that's a good thing."
His teammate with the Rams, and then the Lions, Michael Brockers thought at the time that the Rams got the better end of the deal. With Stafford winning the Super Bowl in his inaugural season with the Rams, that point could be argued at the time.
"Is it level up?" Brockers said to Sports Illustrated. "In my heart, deeply, just understanding what Stafford brings, its a level up over Goff. It's a level up.
That was then and this is now.
His right arm is the primary reason that the Lions are travelling to San Francisco to take on the 49ers for the right to play in the Super Bowl, two weeks from Sunday in Las Vegas.
The Lions defeated the Rams in the battle of former quarterbacks in the NFC Wild Card round. Goff and the Lions held on for a narrow 24-23 victory. Goff was extremely accurate as he completed 22 of 27 passes for 277 yards and a score. He did not get intercepted.
Stafford had the better game statistically, but they say statistics are for losers. Stafford threw for 367 yards and two scores, but lost the game.
The Lions survived and moved on.
Goff threw for 4,575 yards and scattered 30 touchdown passes to his Lions teammates during the 2023 regular season. He finished the year with a passer rating of 97.9.
"It's a credit to all the guys in there. We've said this a million times about how it's the same group." Goff said after the Divisional Round win against the Buccaneers last week. "It's a lot of the same guys, and (Lions GM) Brad (Holmes) and Dan have been very intentional about bringing in those type of guys who can handle moments like today and moments like last week and the ups-and-downs of a season. I think it's all been intentionally done by them, and we're not here by accident."