Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff insists he’s no stranger to the pressure he’s facing ahead of Thursday’s regular-season opener at the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
“Not any more than I’ve experienced in my past,” Goff explained about the situation while speaking with Elizabeth Merrill of ESPN. ” … People have been like, ‘Oh, it’s a make-or-break year for you’ for it seems like half of my career at this point. I don’t know what that means, make or break. But why wouldn’t every quarterback be in a make-or-break year? It seems like every guy should have that mentality. That’s why I think it’s a good thing for me. It keeps me on my toes.”
The Lions served as pre-Week 1 darlings for months after they went 8-2 following Halloween last season, but Goff appears to understand he works in what may be the ultimate “what have you done for me lately?” business in North American professional sports.
He is only signed through the 2024 season, seemingly isn’t close to putting pen to paper on an extension and knows that rookie Hendon Hooker could be viewed as a long-term answer at the position after Hooker completes a redshirt campaign while recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
During a chat with NBC Sports’ Peter King, Goff suggested he learned he’s “tougher” than he thought he was due to the Los Angeles Rams giving up on him after the 2020 season.
“I’m trying to word this without saying anything bad about anyone,” Goff told Merrill about that experience. “I think anytime you’re traded, a team is basically telling you, ‘We don’t believe in you; we’re done with you.’ You’re no longer 16 years old playing this game anymore. These people are making business decisions based on you. And I think that flipped the switch for me to say, ‘OK, I can do the same thing, and I don’t need 32 teams to believe in me. I need one, and the other 31 can kick rocks.'”
For the first time since the NFC North was formed in 2002, the Lions will begin a season as the favorites to win the division title. Detroit failing to achieve that goal could result in the club’s front office questioning Goff’s future with the organization beyond 2024 as soon as this winter.
Only time will tell if the Lions are the “one” team that truly believes Goff can take them as far as they want to go.