That time Mark Richt benched Matt Stafford for throwing too hard to UGA receivers

Former UGA quarterback Matt Stafford with Mark Richt in 2009

Former UGA quarterback Matt Stafford, who is entering his 11th season in the NFL, was profiled this week by The Ringer’s Kevin Clark.

There were a few good stories about Stafford’s days with the Bulldogs, including a new one which will likely be immortalized.

According to Mark Richt, the then-UGA head coach had to remove Stafford from a game because he was throwing passes too hard to his Bulldog receivers. Stafford was replaced by Joe Cox. True story, here’s the excerpt:

“Richt remembers making an unusual move in a game against Colorado in 2006, Stafford’s freshman season. Stafford’s accuracy wasn’t the problem; it was that his passes were thrown so hard his receivers couldn’t catch them, so Richt took him out. ‘It is the only time I ever took a quarterback out of a game because they couldn’t catch his ball. He was throwing them well, and they were doinking off everyone,’ Richt says. ‘The more frustrated he got, the harder he threw, and it wasn’t on purpose. The ball is just coming out so hot. It was a real learning curve for receivers. We had to bring in (backup quarterback) Joe Cox just so they could catch the ball. That lasted about a week.’

Stafford, who has always maintained an extremely guarded personality, opens up about a few other things, including how he is inspired by his wife, who underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor this summer. Stafford also reveals “Billions” is his favorite TV show.

“That kind of stuff interests me. There are no sports (in the show), and it’s really a thinking man’s show. It has to do with power. That dude is a … boss which I like, so I’m like, ‘OK I can deal with this.”

Stafford was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft out of UGA by the Detriot Lions. He’ll kick off another season with the Lions this weekend.

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