It took nine NFL seasons and he is almost 32 but Matt Ryan just did do what not everyone agreed he could.
Say this for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, he knew from Day 1 Ryan had this in him. No longer is Ryan stuck in that strata of “second tier” QBs along with Joe Flacco, Philip Rivers, Andy Dalton, Romo and a few others.
Ryan is the reason you stick with a guy; just because a guy can produce at the highest levels always means there will be postseason wins (see Marino, Dan). It doesn’t mean you dump him if you know it’s there.
Ryan has the Falcons of Atlanta in a Super Bowl, and on the brink of changing the image of one of America’s most beleaugered sports cities. With the Chicago Cubs having won a World Series and the Cleveland Cavaliers an NBA title in the last year, Atlanta is now one of the leaders among America’s loser cities.
Although, The Varisty will always make Atlanta special.
The only title Dallas East has won is the 1995 World Series by the Atlanta Braves.
Steve Bartkowski nor Billy “White Shoes” Johnson ever made it, and the Falcons are 0-1 in the Super Bowl. Dominique Wilkins nor his Atlanta Hawks ever reached an NBA Finals; the Atlanta Flames of the NHL never did anything before re-locating to Calgary, and the Atlanta Thrashers reached the NHL playoffs but once in their 11 seasons before they moved to the tourist trap that is Winnipeg, Canada.
Michael Vick was thought to be the man who would change that for the Falcons and the A-T-L, but there were dog issues.
The Falcons selected Ryan with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, one spot ahead of Arkansas running back Darren McFadden and behind tackle Jake Long and defensive end Chris Long. The other quarterback selected in the first round that year was Flacco by Baltimore.
If you had to re-do that draft, Ryan would go No. 1 and nutso cornerback Aqib Talib would likely be No. 2.
Ryan is now a top candidate to win the 2016 NFL MVP award, and whatever lingering concerns that he was simply not good enough to take a team to the Super Bowl.
As is the case with every quarterback ever selected, there were immediate concerns that the Falcons had reached on Ryan; that he was not worth the No. 3 overall pick.
In the spring of 2008, Romo was playing a golf event in DFW. After the event, he was talking to myself and another reporter about quarterbacks, etc.
Romo specifically mentioned Ryan as “the kid from Boston College. That guy can play.” There were two other quarterbacks in the class I asked about, neither of whom Romo was high on. He said he had not seen Flacco, but the guy he liked was Ryan.
As a rule of thumb, quarterbacks are good at assessing other quarterbacks. Romo is a sports junkie, and had watched Ryan play enough to know.
Romo was dead on; none of the QBs from that class, aside from Flacco, developed into much other than backups. It is ironic one of them, Matt Flynn of LSU, led Green Bay back from a 23-point hafltime deficit to defeat Romo and the Cowboys 37-36 in 2013.
Since being named the starter as a rookie, all Ryan has done is win and produce. The Falcons are 85-57 overall record, and now they are in a Super Bowl, too.
Romo read it right.