Whole Nine Sports

Matt Ryan is Already a Hall of Famer

Matt Ryan
Photo by: Grant Halverson
Charlie Andrade
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Matt Ryan has been perpetually underrated on Twitter and in the NFL landscape. His play shows that he already has passed the criteria to enter the hall of fame. Here’s why:

Matt Ryan has been in the NFL for about eleven years, starting almost every single one of those games. He’s played in a total of 189 games, excluding the playoffs. If the ironman streak counts for Big Ben or Eli, it should count for non-legacy names like Ryan. His streak over the past decade-plus helped notch the Falcons into looking for other weapons like Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.

MAtt Ryan Falcons

Right now, the top NFL passing leader is Drew Brees with 77,416 yards, and Tom Brady with 74,571. They’ve both been in the league for almost four decades combined. Ryan has been in the league for a little more than half of that and right now is tenth on the list of all-time passers with a few hundred to pass John Elway. Ryan averages around 269 yards per game, and 3,187 yards per season. He also has a depth of target of around 7.3 yards through his career which is somewhat impressive considering how the Falcons ran their offense.

And yes, Ryan does play in a domed stadium. That certainly provides a competitive and statistical advantage to Ryan and the Falcons. But how can Drew Brees, a player who for the large majority of his career has played in the domed environment of Mercedes-Benz be treated at a higher level than Ryan, when both follow relatively the same career track? You could argue that Ryan being tenth on the all-time highest passers list and an MVP award is over eleven years is more impressive than Brees, who, in almost double that time is just a bit ahead of Ryan.

Julio Jones
Photo by: Jason Getz

Then comes the question of Julio Jones. A receiver who has already locked in his hall of fame status in Atlanta. But how does the dome environment affect Ryan’s candidacy and not Jones? Arguably both benefits equally. It’s because Ryan has been held to the standard of Brees his entire career, while Jones has been the best receiver in the division for almost a decade. Ryan has made Jones incredible and Jones has made Ryan incredible, it’s a relationship that feeds off each other.

Ryan has also had two MVP-caliber seasons in his career, which is incredible. His popular 2016 run got him the award and an appearance in the Super Bowl. But his 2018 run is also of similar merit. His touchdown and interception ratio are almost identical between the two years. Mahomes, of course, was flashier and more talented than Ryan, so he got the award. That shouldn’t make Ryan’s two runs any less attractive.

Points scored

And as for the infamous Super Bowl appearance, you really cannot blame him for that. That lies on the coaching staff for refusing to kick that field goal. Ryan was still very good in that Super Bowl, and his first two halves were impressive. But blaming Matt Ryan for the failure of his defense is ridiculous, and just an excuse.

Overall, Matt Ryan is on the track to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league’s history. His passing yards will likely end up being in the top three, maybe passing Brees and Brady before his retirement. He’s got over a decade left of play in the league too, and with a borderline hall of fame case now, imagine what we’ll be saying in a decade.