Yes, Stafford is a divisional rival. Yes, when he steps onto the field, particularly against the Vikings, I will hate his rotten NFC-North guts.
But that said, if I ever see him off the field, I will probably shake his hand and offer him a beer. (Which I doubt he would accept.)
Stafford did something ridiculously awesome recently, and when I read about it, I was nearly moved to tears. And that's not something that happens much to me. (I did nearly shed a tear at the end of Return of the King, but that's different.) See, Stafford has recently become involved in a charity, which is fairly common for successful NFL players. However, rather than just pay it lip service, or make his deductible donations in time, Stafford really took the next step.
Apparently while working with University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, Stafford and his girlfriend became close with a young patient and his family. During this time, he found out that said young patient, aside from being a big Lions fan, also loves travelling to the city of Chicago. Well, lo and behold, there was an auction event to benefit Mott's, and one of the items was a trip to Chicago for the Bears-Lions matchup. Stafford upon request pitched in six game day tickets to help.
And then things got interesting. When the package came up, Stafford suddenly started bidding on it. At first, it was taken as a simple sign of driving up the price- after all, the proceeds went to benefit Mott's, so that alone was a pretty decent move. But Stafford didn't stop, he was in it to win it. And win it he did, at $15K... at which point, he turned around to the patient and his family, and told them to go take their prize.
Here's the account, according to the family's mother:
Suddenly, the Lions own quarterback began bidding on the package, [ex-NFL linebacker] Dhani teased about being able to watch and play at the same time, saying I know you were good last year, but man that is talent. I assumed he was driving the price of the package up, all the money goes to Mott, I thought it was incredibly cool of him. As the bidding continued he wasn't backing off... he was in it, he wanted to win that package, and had I known why, I'm certain, I would have been in tears. Somewhere in the $15k range Matt Stafford was the owner of the MNF package, the crowd laughed, but moments later, that same crowd would be giving the Mott newcomer a standing ovation. As he won the package he turned to Will [the young patient] and said, there you go buddy, you go to Chicago, and take your family. The look on my sons face, I will never forget. His chin began to quiver, he was about to cry. He quickly jumped up and gave Matt a hug, and thanked him over and over again.
Damn dude. OK Stafford. Take your bow. From a hated rival... you done earned it.
For the full story and more details, click here.