Stafford: ‘I think I’ve got a lot to prove’ to become elite

INDIANAPOLIS — Matthew Stafford rolled through the NFL Network car wash Friday morning and answered the same question asked of Giants QB Eli Manningearlier this season.

Lions QB Matthew Stafford answers questions on the Live set Friday. (Alix Drawec/NFL)

Are you an elite player?

“I don’t know. I think I’ve got a lot to prove,” said Stafford, who threw for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns in the Lions’ 10-6 season. “You know, I had, statistically, a good year this year, but we want to be deep in the playoffs, playing in Super Bowls just like (the Giants) are. Eli’s got a ring and a chance for another, so he’s at a different level.”

Stafford is on his fourth trip to the Super Bowl, but the watch-from-the-stands act has grown stale for him. He’s motivated to pull off what no Lions signal-caller since Bobby Layne has: Bring a title to Detroit, a city he happens to dig.

“It’s awesome. We love playing there,” Stafford said. “It’s a great city to be in, especially now. All the sports teams are playing well, and their fans are unbelievable.”

Stafford will coach Joe Montana and an assortment of NFL legends in Saturday’s DIRECTV Celebrity Beach Bowl flag-football game.

So, what sort of preparation goes into coaching a guy like Montana?

“Not a lot,” Stafford said. “Just kind of sit back and watch him do his thing.”

Not a bad idea.

— Marc Sessler

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