The anticipation for ESPN’s Michael Jordan documentary, “The Last Dance,” was at a fever pitch Sunday evening.
Millions of sports fans were eagerly anticipating the release of the 10-part docuseries, highlighting Jordan’s tumultuous final season with the Chicago Bulls.
The first two parts were engaging and riveting, and immediately reminded fans of the greatness Jordan displayed in the 1980s and 1990s.
Turning our attention now to longtime Detroit franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford, it must be said that his tenure has left many clamoring for more from the 12-year NFL veteran.
Let’s explore four lessons Stafford could learn from Jordan:
Jordan’s win-at-all costs mentality
In one of the poignant scenes in part two of the documentary, Jordan played golf with Danny Ainge of the Celtics during the 1986 NBA playoffs.
After losing a handsome amount of money to Ainge on the golf course, Jordan proceeded to score 63 points the next game against Boston.
While Stafford is known as being highly competitive, to be able to win in Detroit demands a complete and utter commitment to winning.
Even if it means being willing to defy coaches that decide it is in the best interest of the Lions’ offense to leave Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola on the sidelines in a critical moment of the game.
Stafford needed to override, overrule and even defy the coaches in such an absurd moment in a football game.
Be more vocal about the Lions drafting a bell-cow running back and fixing the offensive line
How is it possible that in Stafford’s tenure, the running backs have been so poor and the offensive line so underwhelming?
Either Stafford is the worst talent evaluator in the league, or his mentality of going along with the flow and playing the role of company guy has been an epic disaster.
For Stafford to succeed moving forward, the Lions must finally pair him with a running back that can regularly secure 100 yards on the ground and an offensive line that can keep him upright.
Without an upgrade at running back and a better offensive line, Stafford will go his entire career without his Scottie Pippen.
Stafford must work to make players around him better
As the leader of the team, Stafford is tasked with shouldering the blame for many of the Lions’ deficiencies.
If there was a player like Darius Slay blatantly disrespecting Lions management, it was incumbent on Stafford to aid in resolving the issue immediately.
Stafford must be willing to take more of an ownership stake in the Lions, if things are ever going to turn around.
He can sit back and collect millions, say the right things and defer to management to do their jobs – or he can elevate those around him to meet the high expectations of everyone involved.
Step up on the grandest stage
Securing meaningless yards in losing efforts does not impress those paying close attention.
It is time for Stafford to put on grand performances when the lights are the brightest.
In must-win scenarios, Stafford has come up short, and made just enough mistakes to cost the team victories.
As viewers will come to see in future episodes, Jordan raised the quality of his performances seemingly every time the situation escalated in degree of magnitude.
It’s now time for Stafford to do the same, if he’s ever going to win on the big stage in Motown.