Will Matthew Stafford become the best Ram ever to wear No. 9?

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Matthew Stafford will suit up for a team not named the Detroit Lions for the first time in his career this season after being acquired by the Los Angeles Rams. And thanks to John Wolford’s generosity, Stafford will continue to wear No. 9, which he wore throughout his career in Detroit.

He’s by far the best Lions player ever to wear No. 9, throwing for 45,109 yards and 282 touchdowns in 12 seasons with the franchise. And so long as he stays healthy, he’ll have no trouble becoming the best Ram to ever wear the number, too.

At the moment, Billy Wade likely holds the title as the best player to wear No. 9 with the Rams. In seven seasons from 1954-1960, he threw for 8,572 yards and 56 touchdowns, but he also threw 68 interceptions. In 1958, he led the NFL with 2,875 passing yards, while throwing a league-high 22 interceptions, as well.

He made one Pro Bowl with the Rams and went 13-23 as the starter before finishing his career with the Bears from 1961-1966. He never led the Rams to the playoffs, but he did win a ring with the Bears in 1963.

Jeff Kemp is the next-closest player to being considered the best to wear No. 9 with the franchise. In four seasons with the Rams, he started 14 games. He finished with 2,395 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions, which are numbers the Rams probably expect Stafford to have by Week 8.

Stafford averages 273.4 yards per game, which over the course of a 17-game season comes out to 4,648 yards. That’s a perfectly reasonable projection, and it’s likely Stafford will push 5,000 yards in the Rams’ offense. And if he leads Los Angeles to the playoffs, his place in franchise history will grow even stronger.

Obviously, he hasn’t even played a single game with the Rams yet, but on paper, Stafford looks well on his way to becoming the best player to wear No. 9 in the team’s decorated history. And if the Rams extend his contract to keep him in L.A. for another 5-7 years, he could be viewed as one of the top quarterbacks to ever play for the franchise.

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