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Today in Sports History: 4/25 – Matthew Stafford Selected First in 2009 NFL Draft

Today in sports history (2009), Matthew Stafford was selected first overall in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. In college, at the University of Georgia, Stafford was one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC. He threw for 7,731 yards and 51 touchdowns during his college career.

Many experts believed that Stafford would be the number one pick. The Lions made that a reality. Detroit negotiated a contract with Stafford less than 24 hours before the draft began. The contract was six years for a guaranteed $41.7 million.

Matthew Stafford Selected First in 2009 NFL Draft
Credit: Rick Osentoski/AP Photo

Matthew Stafford Taken First in 2009 NFL Draft

Early in the season, head coach Jim Schwartz announced that Matthew Stafford would be the starting quarterback. Coming off of a season where Detroit finished 0-16, Lions fans were looking for something to get excited about and Stafford was just that. After a shaky Week 1 start, Stafford recorded his first touchdown pass of many to Calvin Johnson. Stafford picked up his first career win and first win for the Lions in more than a year in Week 3 against the Washington Redskins. This snapped a 19-game losing streak for the Lions.

Though Stafford was chowing flashes early in his rookie year, he did struggle at times. In Week 9 against Seattle, Matthew Stafford threw five interceptions. Tides quickly turned though, as Stafford threw for five touchdowns against Cincinnati, becoming the youngest quarterback to throw five touchdowns in a game at the time. This was also the game where Stafford ran back onto the field after being diagnosed with a separated shoulder to throw the final touchdown.

Matthew Stafford’s rookie year came to end when he was placed on injured reserve late in December with a minor knee injury. In his rookie year, Stafford finished with 2,267 yards and 13 touchdowns. He added 20 interceptions. Even though the Lions finished 2-14, both wins came with Stafford and Detroit fans had a slight glimmer of hope.

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