You don’t win the Super Bowl without a good team behind you and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford certainly has that.
Stafford and his wife, Kelly, are the parents of four daughters under the age of 5. She says she wrote him letters before every game during the team’s playoff run that culminated in a thrilling 23-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl 56.
Her final note before the big game hammered home the point that her husband was ready for this moment.
“It was just how much I thought he truly deserved this, and why I thought he deserved it,” she told TODAY Wednesday. “The most important thing at the end of the day is that we all have each other.
"And win or lose — obviously, a win’s always better — but that’s what’s important in life. And he knows that, but just to reiterate it through a letter and know how proud I am of him and, you know, that we’ll be waiting for him after the game no matter what.”
Stafford, who played the first 12 years of his career with the Detroit Lions after that team made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, was traded to the Rams last offseason. He said his wife’s words carried a lot of weight.
“To be able to kind of reflect back and read those letters and talk and think about what my family means to me before I go do something that I love to do, it helps put things in perspective and let me go out there and play free,” he said.
The couple met while students at the University of Georgia and she followed him to Detroit after he was drafted by the Lions. He enjoyed a stellar career in the Motor City, despite playing for a franchise that failed to win a playoff game during his tenure there.
In 2019, the couple would endure a different kind of hardship when Kelly was diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent a 12-hour surgery and spent weeks in recovery. She says she is doing well today.
“I feel great. I feel awesome. I’m just grateful to be here and I’m so grateful that I got to witness my man do what he did,” she said.
Her husband is in awe and says he has taught him a lot.
“She’s an unbelievable mother. I love watching her care for our kids and for our family. I’ve learned a lot of toughness as well from her. I’m lucky to have her in my corner,” he said.
The Staffords took a long road to get this point, so they are relishing the Super Bowl title.
“It’s overwhelming,” Matthew said. “You start thinking back about all the years that you’ve put into it to try to get to that point. And sometimes not knowing if that opportunity was ever going to come. And when it came, being able to succeed in that moment was pretty special.”
“I don’t think we’ve slept enough for anything to feel real right now,” Kelly said. “The parade will probably, is when it’s all going set in that he did it and he is now going to have a different kind of ring on his finger that he’s wanted his whole life.”
The memory of being able to bask in the glory of his accomplishment with his family will also stay with Matthew.
“My favorite part was looking down and seeing them running towards me and that’s something I’ll never forget,” he said.