Romeo Okwara's N.Y. exhibit catches Matthew Stafford's eye, 'Joker' parody doesn’t

By Matt Schoch
The Detroit News
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford

Allen Park — Matthew Stafford used the bye week to take in some art that caught his eye.

Some other "art" didn’t make his radar.

The Lions quarterback spent time last week in New York City with his wife, Kelly. The couple went to see teammate Romeo Okwara’s photography exhibit in the city, where the defensive end profiles a Brooklyn firehouse, the Rescue Company 2.

“It was awesome, it was really cool,” Stafford said. “Pretty amazing. Guys are talented at more than football around here, at least some guys — not me. It was cool to go check it out and do something pretty special.”

“Rescue 2: Before the Call” is Okwara’s photo essay detailing a day in the life of the firefighters and the famed firehouse.

The exhibit debuted on Sept. 11, 18 years after the terrorist attacks on the city, and will run at Leica’s New York SoHo store through Nov. 3.

“I want to capture what it means to be part of Rescue 2, from the ground up with the building filled with incredible character and soul, past and present,” Okwara said in a release for the exhibit.

What Stafford didn’t see was an animated video posted by Bleacher Report on Tuesday as part of the website’s irreverent “Gridiron Heights” series.

In the parody, Stafford was depicted as the Joker, with head coach Matt Patricia and former teammate Calvin Johnson making appearances, and Stafford in full face paint lamenting: “I used to think the Lions were a tragedy, but now I realize they’re a comedy.”

“I didn’t see it,” the real Stafford said on Wednesday.

Stafford declined to watch the clip when a reporter offered to show him, saying, “Nah, I’ll not look at it some other time.”

Stafford said he watched Green Bay play Dallas on Sunday on television in preparation for Monday’s game against the Packers and also to enjoy it as a fan.

“I was watching a little of Kellen Moore’s offense, old buddy of mine,” Stafford said of his former teammate and current Cowboys offensive coordinator who Stafford will be on the opposite sideline against on Nov. 17 in Detroit.

“He did some creative stuff, some cool stuff in there that reminded me of Kellen Moore.”

A quarter of the way through the regular season, Stafford said he’s been pleased with the offense’s explosive plays and protection, while noting the need for better ball control after losing two fumbles and throwing two interceptions in another game.

He added that his hip, which landed him on the injury report last week, “feels good, feels better.”

As for Lambeau Field on Monday night against the NFC North’s first-place team, with a chance to be on top of the division with a win?

"All the games count,” Stafford said. “No doubt a division game against a really good football team is going to be a fun atmosphere.

“The week off is great, but it’s football season. I’m ready to go play.”

Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.