Matt Ryan (American football)

For other people with the same name, see Matthew Ryan (disambiguation).

Matt Ryan

refer to caption

Matt Ryan in 2015
No. 2Atlanta Falcons
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1985-05-17) May 17, 1985
Place of birth: Exton, Pennsylvania
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight: 217 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school: Philadelphia (PA) Penn Charter
College: Boston College
NFL Draft: 2008 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 10, 2016
Passing attempts: 4,876
Passing completions: 3,151
Percentage: 64.6
TDINT: 226-112
Passing yards: 36,004
Passer rating: 92.6
Player stats at

Matthew Thomas Ryan (born May 17, 1985), nicknamed "Matty Ice,"[1] is an American football quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). After playing college football for Boston College, Ryan was drafted by the Falcons with the third overall pick in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

Ryan was Boston College's starting quarterback from 2005 to 2007, leading them to three bowl victories and a 25-7 record in 32 starts. He threw for 200 or more yards 15 times and is third all-time in school history in passing yards and in pass completions. He earned MVP honors at the 2005 MPC Computers Bowl.[2]

In 2007, Ryan led his team to an ACC Atlantic Division championship and was named ACC Player of the Year.[3] During his rookie year, Ryan started all 16 games for the Falcons and led them to the playoffs with an 11-5 season record. He has also earned honors as the 2008 NFL AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Personal life

Ryan, the third of four siblings, was born to Bernice and Michael Ryan, both Roman Catholics of Irish descent.[4] One of Ryan's uncles, John Loughery, played quarterback at Boston College from 1979-82.[5] Ryan launched a website during his senior year at BC called, where fans and media have 24-hour access to video highlights, updated biographical information, statistics and other information about Ryan.[6] He created an activity named "Folleyball" for NFL Play 60 at NFL[7]

Ryan is an avid golfer and has participated in such tournaments as the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship.[8] Ryan is part of the Falcons' online reading program, “Read with a Falcon”.[9]

High school career

Ryan attended the William Penn Charter School,[10] in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was a three-year starter and earned All-East honors from Larunt Lemming Prep Football Report. He captured All-Southeastern Pennsylvania accolades as a senior quarterback in addition to receiving All-City first-team honors in 2002 and second-team recognition in 2001. A three-time All-League selection, he threw for more than 1,300 yards with 9 touchdowns as a senior, finishing his career by completing more than 52 percent of his pass attempts during all three seasons at the helm. Ryan played football, basketball and baseball while in high school and was named captain of all three teams his senior year. He was quarterback of the football team in 2002, played small forward on the basketball team, and was a pitcher and a shortstop on the baseball team.[11]

Ryan says he was "mildly" recruited and began receiving scholarship offers as a sophomore. Some of the schools that offered him an athletic scholarship were Purdue, Georgia Tech, Temple, and Connecticut. After attending his recruiting visit with Boston College his junior year, it was announced he gave them his verbal commitment on August 14, 2002. His choices had come down to Iowa or Boston College. Ryan was looking for a university close to home and had a strong and competitive football program with a major emphasis on academics.[12]

College career

Ryan began attending Boston College in 2003 and redshirted his first year with the team. Before the 2004 season, he was named the starting quarterback for Boston College due to an injury to Quinton Porter. He made his collegiate debut on October 2, 2004 against the UMass Minutemen and completed two of three passes for 16 yards. He wouldn't complete his first touchdown until November 20, 2004 against Temple, after throwing a 32-yard touchdown pass to Larry Lester. Replacing the injured Paul Peterson, he completed nine of 15 passes for 121 yards. He made his first collegiate start on November 27, 2004 in the final game of that season, completing 24 of 51 passes for 200 yards against Syracuse. He also played against North Carolina in the Continental Tire Bowl. He completed one of his two passes for 13 yards. Matt was also quite proficient in the classroom, and was awarded the 2004 Freshman Male Scholar-Athlete award that same year.[13] In 2016, Boston College retired his jersey.[14]

2005 season

At the beginning of the 2005 season, Ryan was named the second string quarterback behind Quinton Porter. Porter had some success at the beginning of the year, including winning Atlantic Coast Conference player of the week for his performance in Boston College's 2817 win over Virginia. After a 3010 loss to third-ranked Virginia Tech, coach Tom O'Brien finally went to Ryan for good in the 4th quarter of the next game against North Carolina. In ten games (five starts), he completed 121 of 195 passes for 1,514 yards. He had eight touchdowns and five interceptions. He also had five rushing touchdowns and 94 yards. He started his first bowl game in the MPC Computers Bowl versus Boise State. He completed 19 of 36 passes for 256 yards and a career-best three touchdowns.[11]

2006 season

Ryan started 11 of 12 games. He completed 254 of 398 passes for 2,700 yards, 17 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He also ran for three touchdowns. He was All-ACC first-team and led the ACC in total offense (242.2 yards per game) and in passing yards (245.5 yards per game). He was named ACC Offensive Back of the week 3 times. He set career highs in completions (32 vs. Central Michigan) and passing yards (356 vs. Brigham Young). He led the team to a 9–3 record including double overtime wins versus Clemson and Brigham Young. He led the Eagles to a close 25–24 victory on December 26, 2006 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against Navy in Charlotte, North Carolina. In the season opener against Central Michigan, Ryan sprained his ankle. Against Virginia Tech, Ryan broke his foot on the same leg. Despite these injuries, Ryan only missed one game (against Buffalo).[15] His 57 pass attempts in the 2006 Wake Forest game tied Shawn Halloran vs. Syracuse Orange in 1985 and Frank Harris vs. Army in 1968 for the BC record his 40 pass completions in the 2006 Wake Forest game broke the old school record of 37 by Frank Harris in the 1968 Army clash.

2007 season

Ryan and the Boston College Eagles line up on offense in the 2007 ACC Championship game
External image
Ryan on the Cover of NCAA Football 09

Before the season started, Ryan was named to the preseason All-ACC team. Against Wake Forest, he completed 32 of 52 passes for 408 yards and 5 touchdowns. Boston College also hired a new coach: Jeff Jagodzinski, a longtime NFL assistant.[16] He continued his hot streak versus Georgia Tech, going 30–44 with 1 TD and passing for a career-high 435 yards against the staunch Tech defense en route to a convincing 24–10 road victory. After this game, Ryan was suggested as a potential Heisman Trophy contender. Battling Virginia Tech through bad weather in Blacksburg, Virginia, Ryan led an amazing comeback for the Boston College Eagles, passing for two touchdowns with less than 3 minutes to play on October 25, 2007, including the game-winner with 11 seconds left to Andre Callender.[17][18] However, Matt Ryan's chances to win the Heisman fell sharply after he threw three interceptions in a 27–17 loss to Florida State, an unranked team that had six wins and three losses. However, with a strong performance against Clemson[19] his chances were raised substantially. Despite 2 consecutive ACC losses, Ryan and the Eagles found themselves with a trip to the conference championship on the line. Down 10–3 in the third quarter, he led the offense on a game-tying drive, hitting on key passes to Rich Gunnell,Andre Callender and Ryan Purvis, landing the Eagles at the Clemson 2 early in the fourth.James McCluskey finished the job from there, running it in to even the score at 10-apiece. Shortly thereafter, a Clemson turnover resulted in a BC field goal and a 13–10 lead for the maroon and gold . On November 24, against ACC rival Miami,[20] Ryan surpassed Doug Flutie for the most passing touchdowns in a single season by an Eagle QB with 28 TDs, ultimately ending the season with 31. Despite these records, he struggled with throwing interceptions throughout the year, and finished with 19 (2nd most among college quarterbacks). His five touchdown passes in the 2007 Wake Forest game are one shy of the school record of six, held by Doug Flutie in 1984 vs North Carolina. For the maroon and gold, it was their first 10-win regular season since 1940 and the first time they had achieved back-to-back 10-overall-win seasons in program history. He led the Eagles to extend the nation's longest bowl winning streak to eight with a 24–21 victory over Michigan State Spartans in the Champs Sports Bowl on December 28, Ryan threw three touchdown passes, two to Rich Gunnell and one to Jon Loyte .[21] Matt Ryan was awarded the 2007 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given annually in the United States to the Nation's most outstanding college football senior quarterback, the other finalists for the 2007 award were Hawaii's Colt Brennan, Louisville's Brian Brohm, Oregon's Dennis Dixon and Kentucky's Andre Woodson (all of whom were drafted at the 2008 NFL Draft) He was selected to play in the 2008 Senior Bowl. He also won the 2007 Manning Award[22] awarded to the nation's top quarterback, beating out eventual Heisman winner Tim Tebow and eight other finalists for this year's award: Erik Ainge (Tennessee), Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Colt Brennan (Hawai'i), Chase Daniel (Missouri), Dennis Dixon (Oregon), Graham Harrell (Texas Tech), Pat White (West Virginia) and Andre' Woodson (Kentucky). He also he was named "Eagle of the Year" alongside BC's first ever individual champion Kasey Hill, in November, he was asked to talk at the Boston College Multi-Cultural Thanksgiving celebration where he spoke of family, integrity and devotion. He is featured as the cover athlete for the PS3 version of NCAA Football 09.[23]

Awards and honors

  • First-team All-America by AFCA (2007)
  • ACC Player of the Year (2007)
  • First-team All-ACC selection (2007)
  • ACC Player of the week (2007)


Year Team Passing Rushing
Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD
2004 Boston College 35 71 49.3% 350 4.9 2 3 91.5 12 -3 -0.3 0
2005 Boston College 121 195 62.1% 1,514 7.8 8 5 135.7 37 94 2.5 5
2006 Boston College 263 427 61.6% 2,942 6.9 15 10 126.4 51 -35 -0.7 4
2007 Boston College 388 654 59.3% 4,507 6.9 31 19 127.0 68 2 0.0 2
Career 807 1,347 59.9% 9,313 6.9 56 37 126.2 168 58 0.3 11


Professional career

2008 NFL Draft

External images
Matt Ryan at the 2008 Boston College Pro Day
Ryan introduced as the 3rd Overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft
Pre-draft measureables
Wt 40 yd Vert BP Wonderlic
*224 lb *4.86s *24 N/A *32
(* represents NFL Combine[25])

Ryan[26] scored a 32 on the Wonderlic exam, tying Louisville's Brian Brohm for the highest score by a quarterback in 2008.[27][28]

He was drafted third overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2008 NFL Draft[29][30][31] He was the second first-round pick of the draft to sign when he agreed to a six-year contract on May 20. The contract had an overall value of $72 million and contained $34.75 million in guaranteed money.[32] The contract made Ryan the 4th highest paid quarterback in the NFL behind Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Carson Palmer, despite never having played a professional game.[33] This helped fuel the discussion regarding whether rookies in the NFL were overpaid and if there is a need for a rookie salary cap.[34] In addition, Ryan has signed endorsement deals with Nike[35] and AirTran.[36]

2008 season

Ryan in 2008.

On August 24, Ryan was named the starting quarterback for the September 7 regular season opener against the Detroit Lions.[37][38] Ryan became the first rookie quarterback to start a season for the Falcons since Michael Vick in 2001. In the game, Ryan completed his first NFL pass for a 62-yard touchdown to Michael Jenkins,[39] becoming the first quarterback to throw a touchdown on his first career NFL pass since Michael Bishop of the New England Patriots in 2000. Ryan was sacked for the first time by Lions defensive player Dewayne White in his first win. The second game of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers marked Ryan's first interception by rookie cornerback Aqib Talib and also by Sabby Piscitelli.

In week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs, he completed the then-longest TD pass in his career for 70 yards to Roddy White. The 70-yard touchdown pass to White was the longest pass completion for the Falcons since December 23, 2007, when Chris Redman threw a 74-yard touchdown pass. In the same game Ryan completed passes to 6 different players. The following week, he threw for 194 yds and two TDs against the Green Bay Packers. His touchdown passes went to Roddy White and tight end Justin Peelle. The following week against the Chicago Bears Ryan led the Falcons to a comeback win. With 6 seconds left he completed a 26-yard strike to Michael Jenkins that set Jason Elam up for the game-winning field goal as time expired. Ryan finished the game 22-of-30 for a then career-high 301 passing yards. He also had a key fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Roddy White. On Atlanta's first offensive drive, Ryan completed all five of his pass attempts for 57 yards en route to a Falcons field goal and a 30 lead. Ryan was named Diet Pepsi Rookie of the week for his performance.[40]

External video
Matt Ryan's 1st NFL pass, and touchdown
Ryan takes a snap against the Raiders on November 2.

On October 30, Ryan was honored as the NFC Rookie of the Month for October following an impressive string of games in which he led the Falcons to a 21 record. Ryan became the first player in Atlanta Falcons franchise history to be awarded this honor[41][42] In week 8 against the Oakland Raiders, Ryan finished with the highest completion percentage of his career (77.3). He threw for 220 yards and posted a quarterback rating of 138.4. He also completed passes to eight different receivers and the game was his third multiple touchdown game (Green Bay, Philadelphia).[43] His first half passing yardage, completion percentage (81.3) and passer rating (154.2) are all career highs for a half and his two touchdowns tie a first half high, Ryan’s final completion percentage of 77.3 is a career-high along with his passer rating of 138.4. He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week following his performance against the Raiders.[44][45][46] He scored his first rushing TD against the New Orleans Saints on December 7 with a 12-yard touchdown scramble, Ryan also achieved 3000+ passing yards in the 2008 season being only the 2nd rookie to do so. Peyton Manning was the first.[47]

Ryan became the first Falcons rookie quarterback in franchise history to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season after finishing with 206 yards against Tampa Bay, Ryan’s passing total also makes him only the 10th quarterback in club annals to hit the 3,000-yard mark and the first since 1998 when Chris Chandler threw 3,154.[48] It was also his first overtime win as a starter. He was named the Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week for games played after his performance by the second time in his career.[49][50] Ryan finished second amongst rookies in fan Pro Bowl voting (416,468 votes), behind only Titans running back Chris Johnson.[51] Ryan threw for a season-low 134 yards Week 16 against Minnesota Vikings, ending a streak of nine straight games with at least 200 yards passing, he finished 13-of-24 passing, throwing an 8-yard touchdown passes to Jerious Norwood in the second quarter; however, with this win Ryan led the Falcons to their first playoff berth since 2004.[52]

He finished the season with 3,440 passing yds, 17 touchdowns (one rushing), and 11 interceptions. He and fellow rookie Joe Flacco were the first rookie quarterbacks to lead their teams to the playoffs after starting all 16 games of the season. He is one of eleven rookie quarterbacks to throw for over 3,000 yards in their rookie season (the others being Peyton Manning, Sam Bradford, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, and Derek Carr; with Newton and Luck also breaking the 4,000 yard mark). On December 31, Ryan was named the AP NFL Rookie of the Year.[53][54]

Ryan made his first playoff start against the Arizona Cardinals on January 3, 2009. He was 15 years younger than opposing quarterback Kurt Warner, the third largest age discrepancy between playoff quarterbacks. His first attempted playoff pass was an interception. Ryan completed 26 of 40 passing attempts for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns but was intercepted twice. He threw his first TD in a playoff contest to Justin Peelle.[55] Atlanta lost, 30–24.[55] Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith and Ryan became the first rookie Head Coach and rookie quarterback to coach and compete in a playoff game since the Cleveland Rams accomplished the feat in 1945 (the feat was repeated the next day when Ravens Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh did so.)[55] During the game, Ryan set an NFL playoff rookie record with 26 completions in a single postseason game.[55]

2009 season

Ryan being introduced before the Falcons' 2009 regular season opener on September 13.

Ryan was voted by his teammates as Offensive Captain alongside Todd McClure at the end of the 2008 Season. He was first on the depth chart and was the Falcons starting quarterback for the second consecutive season.

In 2009, Ryan started off the season fast as he threw for 229 yds and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions as he led the Falcons to a 19–7 win against the Miami Dolphins in the 2009 NFL season opener. In Week 2, Ryan led the Falcons past the Carolina Panthers. Ryan had a career high in touchdown passes (3), completion percentage (78%) and touchdown passes in a half (3). He finished the game 21–28 with 220 yards, 3 touchdowns and a pick. In week 3, Ryan and the Falcons lost to the New England Patriots. Ryan completed 17-28 for 199 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.

In Week 5 game against the San Francisco 49ers, he completed 15 of 21 passes for 258 yards in the first half, setting a new career-high for the first half of play.[56] Ryan finished the game having completed 22 of 32 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns for a 110.0 passer rating. Ryan tossed a 31-yard strike to Roddy White and he connected to White again in the second quarter with a 90-yard touchdown.[57] The pass and reception for Ryan and White set new career highs. The pass and reception also mark the third longest in franchise history and the longest pass play since 2001.[56] The game was his third-career 300-yard passing outing as the second-year quarterback set a new career-high in total passing yards in a single game.[56]

In Weeks 6 through 9, Ryan generally struggled, throwing more interceptions (8) than touchdowns (6), was sacked 10 times, and had an average passing rating of 65.5. Still, he led the Falcons to two victories in the four games, in part thanks to Michael Turner returning to the form of 2008.

In Week 12, Matt Ryan suffered a turf toe injury during the game against Tampa Bay. Chris Redman stepped in and managed to win the game by connecting to Roddy White for a touchdown in the 4th quarter. Following this victory, however, the effect of Ryan's absence was compounded by injury to starting running back Michael Turner, and the Falcons suffered losses to both Philadelphia and New Orleans in Weeks 13 and 14. In Week 15, Ryan returned, despite not yet having fully recovered from his injury, and led Atlanta to a 10–7 upset win against the New York Jets.

In Week 16, the Falcons defeated the Buffalo Bills in a 31–3 win. Matt Ryan threw for 250 yards with 3 touchdowns, two of them to Roddy White. In the last game of the season, the Falcons defeated the Bucs 20-10.

With a record of 9–7, the Atlanta Falcons attained back to back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history.[58]

Ryan finished the season throwing for 2916 yards with 22 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 80.9. Ryan also rushed for 49 yards and one touchdown.

2010 season

In the 2010 season, Ryan led the Falcons to an NFC best 13–3 record, second in the NFL behind the 14–2 New England Patriots. He set career highs in touchdowns (28), completion percentage (62.5) and yards (3,705) while tossing 9 interceptions. Ryan set the single season franchise records, as well as career highs, in attempts (571), completions (357), and wins in a season (13).

He also led the NFL in fourth quarter comebacks for a quarterback in the 2010 season, with six. In the divisional round of the 2010–11 NFL playoffs, the Falcons were defeated by the eventual Super Bowl champions, Green Bay Packers with the score 48–21.

Ryan was invited to the 2011 Pro Bowl, for the first time of his career. He threw two touchdowns in the Pro Bowl, one to Tony Gonzalez and the other to Larry Fitzgerald.

2011 season

In the 2011 season, Ryan led the Falcons to a 10–6 record, passing for 4,177 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. However, they were defeated by the New York Giants in the wild card round 24–2.

2012 season

In 2012, Ryan led the Falcons to their franchise best start of the season, starting 8–0. Ryan set personal records in completions (422), percentage (68.6), yards (4,719), and touchdowns (32). The Falcons finished the season 13–3, with the first seed in the NFC. Ryan, who was 0–3 in the postseason coming into the playoffs, won his first postseason game in the NFC Divisional Round against the Seattle Seahawks, with Ryan orchestrating the final scoring drive that led to Matt Bryant's game-winning field goal. Ryan finished with 250 passing yards, 68.6% completion percentage, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. In the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers, Ryan threw for 396 yards and three touchdowns, but also committed two turnovers in crucial portions of the game, and later sprained the AC joint to his non-throwing shoulder as the Falcons lost 28–24. He did not require surgical procedure to repair his shoulder and would have been able to play in the Super Bowl if the Falcons had advanced.

2013 season

On July 25, 2013, Ryan agreed to a five-year contract extension worth $103.75 million with the Falcons.[59] On December 30, Ryan surpassed Steve Bartkowski for the all-time franchise leader in passing yards. The Falcons had a down year in going only 4–12, due to multiple injuries and losing key players on both sides of the ball.[60]

2014 season

Ryan vs. the Ravens in 2014.

Ryan led the Falcons to a 6–10 record in 2014. He threw for 4,694 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions, and had a quarterback rating of 93.9; the second highest of his career. The Falcons missed the playoffs a second year in a row after losing to the divisional rivals, Carolina Panthers.

2015 season

Ryan led the Falcons to a 8–8 record in 2015, good for second in the NFC South, but not enough for the playoffs. Ryan finished with 21 touchdown passes, the second lowest of his career, as well as 16 interceptions, the second highest of his career. Ryan also fumbled a career high 12 times, losing 5 of them, also a career high.

2016 season

In week 4 of the 2016 season, Ryan threw for a team-record 503 yards and four touchdowns while teammate Julio Jones caught 12 passes for a team-record 300 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Carolina Panthers.[61] Ryan and Jones were the first quarterback-receiver duo in NFL history to combine for at least 500 passing yards and 300 receiving yards in one game.[62] In October 2016, he set an NFL record for most consecutive games with at least 200 passing yards with 46 straight games.[63]

NFL career statistics and accolades

Ryan with the Falcons in 2009.

Regular season

    Passing   Rushing
Season Team GP GS Comp Att Pct Yds TD INT RAT Att Yds TD
2008 Falcons 16 16 265 434 61.1 3,440 16 11 87.7 55 104 1
2009 Falcons 14 14 263 451 58.3 2,916 22 14 80.9 30 49 1
2010 Falcons 16 16 357 571 62.5 3,705 28 9 91.0 46 122 0
2011 Falcons 16 16 347 566 61.3 4,177 29 12 92.2 37 84 2
2012 Falcons 16 16 422 615 68.6 4,719 32 14 99.1 34 141 1
2013 Falcons 16 16 439 651 67.4 4,515 26 17 89.6 17 55 0
2014 Falcons 16 16 415 628 66.1 4,694 28 14 93.9 29 145 0
2015 Falcons 16 16 407 614 66.3 4,591 21 16 89.0 36 63 0
2016 Falcons 9 9 218 313 69.6 2,980 23 4 119.0 23 69 0
Career 135 135 3,133 4,843 64.7 35,737 225 111 92.7 307 832 5


    Passing   Rushing
Season Team GP GS Comp Att Pct Yds TD INT RAT Att Yds TD
2008 Falcons 1 1 26 40 65.0 199 2 2 72.8 4 6 0
2010 Falcons 1 1 20 30 66.7 186 1 2 69.0 1 0 0
2011 Falcons 1 1 24 41 58.5 199 0 0 71.1 3 3 0
2012 Falcons 2 2 54 77 70.1 646 6 3 105.2 3 9 0
Postseason totals 5 5 124 187 66.3 1230 9 7 79.5 11 18 0

Awards and honors

Falcons franchise records


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