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Report: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan still motivated by 2012 NFC Championship loss

Fact: Matt Ryan owns several large tortoises

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is a controversial guy. His perennially clutch play and late-game heroics are often overlooked. As a result, he's inaccurately described as a mediocre quarterback, a completely unfair and, to be frank, misguided characterization. I emphatically disagree with that assessment, but that's an argument for a different day. Let's talk for a moment about what makes Ryan tick.

Ryan is a definite self-motivator. He doesn't need you to get him riled up. He doesn't need head coach Dan Quinn to tell him he's worthless or yell at him. None of that needs to be done, because Ryan knows how to narrow his own focus. And speaking of narrowing his focus, Ryan is singularly focused on one thing right now: win the Super Bowl. (Credit to Vaughn McClure for the quote; go read his article now, if you haven't already.)

"It's like any game, right? It's not just one thing," Ryan said. "There are a handful of opportunities that come up throughout a game. Certainly, we had our chances when we were in the tight red zone. I think we had four opportunities from inside the [20]. You'd like to have any one of those back where you could make that play. But that's the nature of the game when you fall short, right? You wish you did some things differently."

Ryan wants to be a champion, but obviously that's not the end of his story. Every professional football player will tell you that he wants to win a Super Bowl. But not every professional football player has been ten yards from a Super Bowl. That memory, however remote, still weighs heavily on Ryan.

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