Everyone likes to be lauded, so if Matt Ryan isn't too busy playing golf or solving world hunger, he might be delighted to hear that Fox Sports has declared him the best under-30 franchise player in the league.
That's pretty big praise for a guy with exactly one year of NFL play under his belt. For the sake of perspective, guys like Houston Texans sack machine Mario Williams, Minnesota Vikings stud running back Adrian Peterson and already legendary Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald are also on this top ten list. All of those guys have put up huge numbers in their time, but Ryan's position automatically shoots up him up the list. I think.
I remain as wary as ever about this kind of hype. Ryan seems to be a humble, good-natured kid who can handle the attention, and I'm eternally grateful for that. At the same time, he's a second year player at the helm of a comically unlucky franchise. I've been a chipper, optimistic Falcons fan, but I think it's terrifying to heap monstrous expectations on Matty Ice this early in his career. I'm glad we're being recognized, yes, but there's a deeply held superstition in the heart of every sports fan, and this has left me unusually queasy.
Still, no denying that he's got the potential to light the world on fire.
What do you all think? Does Ryan fit this particular crystal football cleat?