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Happy Birthday, Matt Ryan

The Falcons' quarterback turned 30 today.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It's Matt Ryan's birthday, and it's difficult to believe that he's spent seven seasons in Atlanta. It seems like only yesterday he was throwing his first pass as a pro, a throw to Michael Jenkins that went 62 yards for a touchdown.

Ryan's first season followed an abysmal 2007 season. To recap, Michael Vick had gone to prison, Bobby Petrino started some combination of Joey Harrington, Chris Redman, and even Byron Leftwich, and then Petrino snuck out of town under cover of darkness before the season was even over.

But 2008 was a pleasant surprise. The rookie quarterback out of Boston College, complemented by a really strong ground game - remember when that was a thing in Atlanta? - led the Falcons to an 11-5 finish and a playoff bid. While the Falcons missed the playoffs in Ryan's second season, the team did finish 9-7, posting consecutive winning seasons for the first time since the team was founded in 1966.

2010, now, that was quite the season. The Falcons finished 13-3 and locked up the top seed in the NFC and a first-round bye. We won't talk about that postseason, because I don't want to bring up anything ugly on Ryan's birthday, but the season itself was glorious.

And in 2011, the team made the playoffs again. That was three playoff bids for the Matt Ryan-led Falcons in four seasons. It was pretty easy to get used to this kind of success.

Ryan played so well early in the 2012 season that there was legitimate MVP buzz surrounding the fifth-year quarterback. The Falcons, once again, finished 13-3, beat the Seahawks in the playoffs and very nearly won the NFC Championship.

We all know how 2013 and 2014 went, but Ryan statistically was as strong as ever. He may be 30, but he certainly hasn't lost a step. This is a player who potentially has his best years ahead of him, and the team was wise enough to ensure that he'll spend those years on Atlanta, and the Falcons are lucky to have a guy who knows how to be the face of the franchise off the field and lead the team on it.

So happy birthday, Matt Ryan. Thanks for all you've done for the Falcons, and here's to many more good years in Atlanta.