It was hard news for Falcons fans, who have been grateful for Bryant’s reliability and consistency over the years. He did miss some time due to injury last season, forcing the team to bring in Giorgio Tavecchio, who played well. Bryant’s age, cap hit, and recent injury history were all valid business reasons to stick with Tavecchio. But that doesn’t make the move hurt any less.
Our staff recalled their favorite Matt Bryant memories from his time in Atlanta. Please share yours in the comments.
“Have fun watching us in January.”
I have so many fond memories of Matt Bryant’s time in Atlanta. All the clutch game-winning kicks hold a special place in my heart. But one Matt Bryant moment stands out above the rest. Remember that time Greg Hardy was running around on the Panthers’ field yelling, “Get the f*** off our field” like a jackass after the Panthers beat the Falcons in 2012? Greg Hardy was 6’5 and 280 pounds in his playing days. Matt Bryant is 5’9 and 203 pounds, but it didn’t stop him from looking Hardy straight in the face and replying, “Have fun watching us in January.” It’s not the only time he talked trash to opposing players, not by a long shot. But for me, it cemented his status as a living legend. - Jeanna Thomas
Matt Bryant is legitimately a good guy
I’ll let the others speak to the numerous clutch kicks he made over the years. For me, his greatest impact was five brief minutes at training camp almost eight years ago. I took my sons to watch the team practice on opening weekend. Before the main practice began, Bryant came out to warm up and walked over to the fence where a bunch of kids had gathered, including my own. For the next five to 10 minutes, he stayed there to talk with the kids and sign everything they put in front of him. My boys were so excited to meet a “real player” and could not stop talking about it. He could not have been more kind and attentive and that memory has stayed with me ever since. God bless you, Matt Bryant. You were a true hero on and off the field. - David Walker
Bryant was clutch when it counted
I’m almost always sad to see Falcons players go, but cutting Matt Bryant feels like a personal affront to Falcons fans. He was a street free agent the Falcons brought in when Jason Elam imploded, and he went on to spend a decade kicking field goals and kicking ass in a fashion so historically great as to be almost unreal. I’ll never forget any of his big kicks, but for me, the defining one will be that ice cold taunt of the Seahawks in January 2013, when he missed the free kick when Pete Carroll iced him and then put the game away when it counted, as he did so many times before. He’ll be in the team’s Ring of Honor someday, and he’ll deserve to be. - Dave Choate
He was reliable in a position where so many players aren’t
I have a different twist to this. My favorite memory of Matt Bryant during his years in Atlanta is actually watching the number of kickers across the league that have failed at doing what they have been brought on to do. Seeing Tampa Bay draft a kicker in the second round only to woefully become a bust, watching Cody Parkey literally cost the Bears a shot at a deep postseason run, even witnessing Green Bay’s Mason Crosby miss four field goals and an extra point in a game against Detroit this past season. It always felt refreshing to see No. 3 trot out there, nail a kick with room to spare, and not have to worry about having a kicker costing the Falcons a game. Having league-wide chaos at the kicker position over the years made me appreciate Bryant even more. He will be missed dearly. - Eric Robinson
He went out in typical “Money” fashion
Matt Bryant is without a doubt the best kicker in Atlanta Falcons history, and I have been a big fan of his and his family. Even knowing there was a possibility, I was devastated to learn of his release from the organization. Everyone has already mentioned the more memorable moments, but for me, it was nice to see him go out clutch, the way us fans are used to seeing. Bryant hit a game-winning 37-yard field goal as time expired to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2018 season finale. That will always be his last kick as a Falcon. Thank you “Money.” - Evan Birchfield
The kick that sent Atlanta to the 2012 NFC Championship
There are so many legitimately great Matt Bryant moments that it’s hard to pick just one. My personal favorite had to be the last-second kick in the 2012 NFC Divisional Round against the Seattle Seahawks. He absolutely nailed it, sending that 13-3 Falcons team to the NFC Championship. I remember feeling totally confident that he would make the kick before it even left the ground—that’s what was so special about Bryant. He was the most clutch kicker this franchise has ever had, and that’s worth a lot. Also, he signed my jersey and took pictures with me back when I went to training camp for the first time in 2014. That was before I got started covering the team, and I’ll always remember his kindness. - Kevin Knight