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So Long, Old Friend

Matthew Stafford’s nine-minute (nine!) goodbye to the Detroit Lions is the tearjerker of Oscars season

March 18, 2021

Leon Halip

On Monday, the 2021 Oscars nominees were announced. Arriving three months late and packed with films that never saw the light of a theater screen, they were unlike any other before them. But while the best picture nominees proved to be as heavy as their real-world context—a woman in her 60s sets out across America after losing everything in the Great Recession, a metal drummer discovers he’s going deaf, a Korean-American family tries to put down roots in Arkansas—they are nothing compared to tearjerker the Detroit Lions just dropped on Thursday.

Ladies and gentleman, we give you Matthew Stafford’s goodbye video.

We don’t know if you sat through all nine minutes of that (nine for nine, get it?), but if you did, you witnessed countless highlights. The no-look throws, the infamous “clock it” gambit, the time he got murdered by C.J. Mosley on the second to last play of the game, only to get up and win it on the last one. They’re all in there, set to plinking piano and mournful strings. From time to time, Stafford looks into the camera and addresses the city of Detroit directly. “This is thank you, not goodbye,” he ultimately says, as every football fan in America melts into a giant, weeping puddle.

And that’s just the football stuff. He also touches on his extensive community work in Detroit and how, when Stafford’s wife Kelly was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2019, the people of Motor City returned the favor. If there’s a dry eye in the house, get that poor bastard some Visine, because it must be a medical condition. That’s the only rational explanation.

Of course, Stafford is headed to La La Land now to play for a much better team. This is his window—a chance to win a Super Bowl, justify his number-one overall selection, and substantiate the gaudy numbers he put up slinging it to Megatron at Ford Field all those years. But as this video proves, no matter what happens, he’ll always be a Lion. Normally that would be a compliment, but for Stafford it absolutely, unequivocally is.