Matt Ryan really doesn’t get the respect he deserves from the national media. Once again, he took the brunt of disrespect from NFL Network in their annual list counting down the 100 best players in the NFL, checking in at 69 (not nice).
The “Top 100” is a ranking compiled by NFL players, and it has truly turned into a popularity contest which rewards players for their team’s win percentage.
The video itself (which is supposed to praise the player who was voted onto the list) is even more disrespectful than the ranking — it starts by talking about how Saints’ DE Cam Jordan often sacks Ryan, goes into talking about Ryan’s advanced age, and has division rival defensive players primarily crediting Julio Jones for Ryan’s effectiveness.
“Matty Ice” is coming off of a season where he tallied 4,924 passing yards, 35 passing touchdowns, and seven interceptions, while registering a passer rating of 108.1. That yardage was good for third in the NFL, the touchdowns were good for third, and the passer rating was good for fourth.
In 2017, Ryan had 4,095 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and a passer rating of 91.4. That got him a ranking of 29th on the “Top 100 of 2018” list.
In 2018, Ryan blew every single passing statistic from the year before out of the water, was a lot more effective, and fell 40 spots as a result.
Some will point to the fact that the Falcons went 10-6 with a playoff win in 2017, and then were 7-9 while missing the postseason in 2018. However, that may have something to do with the fact that the Falcons finished ninth in the league in total defense in 2017 and then were 28th in 2018. Ryan is essentially being punished because his defense (something he has no control over) underperformed (much like what happened in Super Bowl 51).
Ryan, in his 2016 MVP season where he put up nearly identical numbers to the ones he had in 2018 (with very slight upticks across the board in 2016) was ranked 10th on the “Top 100 players of 2017” list.
In comparison, Carson Wentz, who played in 13 games in 2017 before getting hurt in a season where he was considered the front-runner for MVP, was ranked third on the list a year later.
Ryan had better numbers in 2016 than what Wentz was projected to have across a fully healthy 2017 season. Ryan stayed healthy and actually went on to win the MVP award. Ryan led his team through the NFC and into the Super Bowl, while Wentz was hurt and watching his backup win Super Bowl 52. Yet despite all of that, Wentz was ranked seven places higher in his “almost MVP” season than Ryan was in his actual MVP campaign.
We all know that the Top 100 is a joke and shouldn’t be taken seriously, but the frustration builds and boils over when it’s consistently used as a platform of disrespect.
Had Ryan put up the exact same numbers throughout his career that he has thus far, with a legacy franchise like the Packers or Steelers, or in a major market like New York or Philadelphia, I have no doubt that he would find himself in the top 10 of this list this year, and he’d be considered undoubtedly one of the 3-5 best QBs in the league by everyone in the national media.