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There were a lot of upset and angry fans last January when the Detroit Lions traded away the face of their franchise, Matthew Stafford. They sent him to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff, two first-round picks and a third-rounder, officially beginning a much-needed rebuild.
Lions fans were forced to suffer through a difficult 3-13-1 season, but for those who have watched Stafford lead the Rams deep into the playoffs from afar, it’s a little bit of a silver lining – even if the Rams’ success hurts the Lions’ draft position this year.
Just ask Andrew Ferenz, who’s a lifelong Lions fan and a huge supporter of Stafford. He’s watched Stafford since he was drafted by the Lions in 2009 and has grown up idolizing him ever since he threw a game-winning touchdown pass against the Browns as a rookie.
So when he saw Stafford lead the Rams to a dramatic win over the Buccaneers in the divisional round of the playoffs, he celebrated as if the Lions were the ones advancing the NFC Championship Game.
This video of Andrew’s reaction to Stafford’s 44-yard bomb to Cooper Kupp went viral, showing just how big a fan he is of the veteran quarterback.
(via hallberrgg/IG) pic.twitter.com/PsKYz2zVUm
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 25, 2022
After the clip was spread around the internet, Rams fans rallied together to send Andrew to the NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium so he could see his favorite quarterback take on the San Francisco 49ers.
Rams fan Holden Cantor put together a GoFundMe page, which raised $1,200. That was enough to secure two tickets to the game for Andrew and his girlfriend, with flights and a hotel also in the process of being booked.
Tickets secured ✅ huge shoutout to @tweetjoy17 for the sale of these tickets, and huge shoutout to everyone who has donated so far .. working on possibly the flight now too
— HoldenCantor (@HoldenCantor) January 26, 2022
Needless to say, Andrew struggled to contain his excitement – and understandably so. He gets to watch his favorite player take the field in the biggest game of his career.
As much as he would have loved for it to be Stafford and the Lions in this situation, he knows it’s unlikely for Detroit to win anything meaningful soon. Watching Stafford hoist the Lombardi Trophy as a Super Bowl champion on Feb. 13 would be satisfying for Andrew, even if it causes the Lions’ draft pick to fall all the way to No. 32 overall.
“Yeah, I’ll still have to wait countless years for the Lions to win a Super Bowl, but seeing Stafford raise the Lombardi, I would be so happy for him,” Andrew told Rams Wire. “Draft pick aside for the Lions at this point. What’s pick 28 vs. 32? Get your ring, 9. Detroit loves ya!”
Andrew said he shed a few tears when he learned that Stafford was being traded by the Lions a year ago. But as sad as it was to see his favorite player leave Detroit, he was “happy he actually got out” of a situation that was clearly not going to yield success for Stafford.
“Glad the Lions let him go and it wasn’t another career wasted in Detroit,” he said. “I just wanted (fans) to see how good he is with a team in a ‘win now’ scenario.”
It’s become abundantly clear just how much success Stafford can have when he’s surrounded by a quality team, now sitting only one win away from reaching the Super Bowl in his first season with the Rams.