To begin with, Matt Ryan will always be my quarterback (just getting that out of the way). I became an Atlanta Falcons when QB Michael Vick was drafted in the 2001 NFL Draft. Without doubt, that 2007 season was awful for a plethora of reasons, specifically Bobby Petrino leaving for the Arkansas job with letters in the locker room. Before I lose myself in anger over that, let me digress.
Matt Ryan: The Beginning of a New Era
Next, the 2008 NFL Draft comes as the Atlanta Falcons looked to secure their franchise guy because who’d of thought that Joey Harrington wasn’t the answer? That being said, we get Matt Ryan, the 6’4” 217 lb. QB out of Boston College. In all honesty, I had no idea what to expect but it felt as though things were going to turn around.
NFL Draft 2016: Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank reflects on drafting Matt Ryan in the 2008 NFL Draft https://t.co/fN6qZpQwkx
— The Falcoholic (@TheFalcoholic) April 28, 2016
He was the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as he threw for 3,440 yards with 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in the 2008 season. It’s the most passing yards thrown by a Falcons rookie signal-caller, breaking the record of 1,795 yards by Randy Johnson (not that one).
Ryan led the NFL in completion percentage in the 2012 NFL season while making his second Pro Bowl after making it back in 2010. Moving a bit ahead on his career timeline, there’s one game that most Falcons fans like me will say was the best game of his career.
Ryan’s MVP Season
In truth, I remember when Ryan lit up against the Carolina Panthers secondary for 503 yards in the air. He added four touchdown passes to boot in that game. More importantly, he was above and beyond the best player in the NFL in the 2016 season, winning league MVP. Atlanta went 11-5 that season and made our way into the postseason with our leader under center.
Matt Ryan's 2016 MVP season was something special.
— NFL (@NFL) March 21, 2022
By and large, our quarterback was ready for the moment as we faced the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. This game was the showcase for Ryan. He slung it for 392 yards passing with four touchdowns, outplaying QB Aaron Rodgers that afternoon.
Winning the game by a score of 44-21, the Falcons were heading to their second Super Bowl in franchise history. Unquestionably, facing the New England Patriots was a tall task. But, my guy held his own with his 284 yards passing and two touchdowns. Of course, we know what happened and that score that haunts me from time to time but I knew it wasn’t Ryan’s fault.
Post-Super Bowl Career
On the whole, his play was consistent, even if the team wasn’t. He’s thrown for 22,034 yards since the 2017 season, second behind some QB named Tom Brady (22,938). Since the 2017 season, Atlanta made it back that season and never made it back to the playoffs since.
The End of an Era
Summing up, seeing him in another uniform will be different after 14 years. Together with his leadership and all-time talent, the Indianapolis Colts is getting an all-time human being.
Thank you, Atlanta.
– Matt, Sarah, Marshall and Johnny pic.twitter.com/hl0sE1o7A8
— Matt Ryan (@M_Ryan02) March 23, 2022
Throughout the highs and lows, he was the high and gave it all. To check out more of the amazing memories of Ryan, read this piece here.
To that end, I’ll say this to the best QB in Falcons history:
Thank you for being the absolute best and keeping the Falcons afloat through the good and bad.
Seeing you under center every Sunday, Monday or any other day of the week gave me hope.
You'll forever be loved for the work you've done: on and off the field.
Thanks, Matty Ice pic.twitter.com/yclbt2dHDw
— LaDarius Brown (@ladarius_brown) March 21, 2022
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