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Eyes on the Prize

This no-look Matthew Stafford dart on the game-winning drive of Super Bowl LVI might be a top-five throw in NFL history

February 14, 2022

Patrick Mahomes gets all the plaudits when it comes to the ol’ no look pass, but the truth is Matthew Stafford has been out here slinging it blind since Mahomes was just a twinkle in Kliff Kingsbury’s eye. If you don’t believe us, just check out this beauty from last season.

Absolutely insane. No question about it. So now ask yourself: What if Stafford pulled off essentially a carbon copy of this throw trailing by four points deep in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl? Where would you rank that throw, not just in the pantheon of no-looks, but NFL throws ever? We ask because that’s exactly what happened on Sunday night.

Watch Stafford’s head, as he baits the safety to the underneath route. Now watch the throw, cross-body, on a line, perfect spiral, just beyond the safety’s outstretched fingers and perfectly in-stride with Cooper Kupp. Now consider the stakes. Super Bowl on the line. Imagine you’re Stafford for a second. Imagine knowing you were rescued from Detroit for this purpose and this purpose only and that the cost of that transaction makes your championship window smaller than the window to fit this ball through. We’ve crunched all those numbers in our head this morning, and we’re prepared to say it:

This is a top-five throw in NFL history. We will not be taking questions at this time.

As good as it is, however, it will probably be lost to the sands of time. It takes too much time and effort for the layperson to evaluate what’s going on here. By then, 300 other highlights will have popped up in their feed. Aaron Rodgers and/or Russell Wilson will toss some beautiful, arcing regular-season mean-nothing for the Cardinals and/or Commanders and the crowd will go wild with hyperbole.

This one needs no exaggeration, however. It’s a GOAT-level throw in the highest-leverage situation imaginable. We don’t need to look at it again to tell you that much. Hell, Stafford didn’t even have to look at it once.