Matt Shepard is the play-by-play voice of University of Michigan basketball, Eastern Michigan University football and the Detroit Lions Television Network. He can also be found on TV locally on Fox Sports Detroit and nationally on the Big Ten Network for college football and baseball.
Here, he answers a few of your burning questions.
Hometown? Farmington Hills, MI
Marital Status? Married, Lisa, with four children (3-boys 1-girl)
What High School did you attend? North Farmington HS
What is your Favorite sport to watch on TV and your favorite sport to attend in person?
Football on TV...hockey to attend
Who is your favorite actor or actress?
Clint Eastwood/Mel Gibson.....Ashley Judd
Who is your favorite sports celebrity of all time? Wayne Gretzky
Bases loaded, two outs in the bottom of the ninth of the Game Seven of the World Series and your team is down one run...Which active baseball player do you want at the plate? Derek Jeter
Who is your favorite cartoon character? Bugs Bunny
What is your favorite national sports moment? Miracle on Ice
What is your favorite Detroit sports moment?
1984 World Series & 1997 Red Wings Stanley Cup
If you could change a rule in sports, what would it be?
I'd just like to see the strike zone called appropriately
What Detroiter do you admire most? Joe Dumars
College or Pro Sports? College
If you could invite three people to dinner, living or dead, who would they be? Jesus....my father (deceased)....my father-in-law (deceased) to see 'em one more time
What was your most interesting interview? Paul Newman at the Detroit Grand Prix
Favorite broadcaster of all time? Dick Enberg....but I really respect Joe Buck
Most embarrassing moment on the air? Stuttering during a line in a sportscast
What is your favorite Sports Team? Detroit Tigers
Shep's Daily Poll Question is brought to you by Art Moran Buick GMC
Matthew Stafford is here for the next five years. He's excited about it, the organization is fired up and I'll guarantee you the players are happy that Stafford will be under center for that long.
With fans it's a mixed reaction. Some feel like he hasn't proven enough yet and bottom line his worth at wins and losses. When you own just 17 wins and 1 against a team that finished the year with a winning record, that's not enough to instill the necessary confidence in fans. I think that's fair and understandable, but I would also remind those fans that football is the ultimate team game. Where one guy missing an assignment can screw up the entire play and we don't even know it; that defense and special teams help the offense and vice versa; and where numbers can be a little misleading like Stafford's 20 touchdowns that should have been closer to 27 or 28 (drops and receivers tackled inside the five yard line). No quarterback has seen fewer "8-men in the box" scenarios than Stafford. Teams dare the Lions to run, knowing they can't.
Stafford needs to be more consistent. He needs to be better in order for this team to compete for divisional, conference and dare I say, league championships. He is already in lofty company, league wide, with what he's done in the last two years (only Brees and Brady have thrown for more yards). If healthy, he will establish franchise records for CAREER passing yards and touchdowns. Stafford is the second fastest in league history to throw for 10,000 yards (Warner in 36 games) and he's engineered seven fourth quarter or overtimes comebacks in his career. He's just 25!
Is it possible to overpay a franchise quarterback? It's the most important position in the sport and maybe the most vital in all of sports, so the answer is NO. Some may want more proof he deserves the cash. Well ask Baltimore if it was wise to hold off on extending Joe Flacco, now the highest paid at his position. Stafford could have made more money after this year, but with the extension and salary cap hit, it allows the Lions to think long-term deal with Suh and give the team financial freedom to improve this year.
We can agree he needs to cut down on the picks and needs to be more accurate, but he does make NFL fans take notice and has helped make the Lions exciting to watch and more relevant on the league's landscape and that is extremely valuable. Atlanta General Manager Tom Dimitroff once said, "until you find your quarterback, the search for him consumes you." The Lions obviously are convinced they have their guy, now Stafford has to convince the fickle and skeptical fan base.