The Atlanta Falcons re-signed kicker Matt Bryant to a one-year, $3 million deal.
On Feb. 6, 2019, the Atlanta Falcons released the best kicker in franchise history, Matt “Money” Bryant. For many fans who understand the business, it was still difficult to see such an instrumental player for the team suddenly no longer be on the roster. After a preseason in which the Falcons were reminded of the consistency they once had at kicker, Matt Bryant is back. Let’s reminisce about his greatness.
After being a part of the New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Atlanta Falcons signed kicker Matt Bryant on Dec. 1, 2009. Even though he only appeared in five games that season, Matt had 10 field goal attempts, netting seven of them.
Matt Bryant was officially the Falcons’ full-time kicker in 2010, as he appeared in all 16 games during the great 13-3 season. During the Week 4 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, Money gave a first glimpse of what Falcons fans could expect over the next decade. Bryant converted all three of his field goals, with the final 43-yard attempt sealing the Falcons’ victory with only six seconds remaining. Later that season, in the Week 12 matchup against the Green Bay Packers, Matt again capitalized on a last second field goal, giving the Falcons the 20–17 victory.
Bryant would again appear in all 16 games for the Falcons in 2011. In the Week 4 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, Matt converted his three field goal attempts and three extra point attempts, giving the Falcons the 30-28 victory. He would also finish with a then career-high 93.1% field goal accuracy.
In 2012, the team would finish 13-3, having one of their best seasons in franchise history. Bryant was reliable as ever, but he also gave fans a lot of memories that we all still reminisce about to this day.
First up, the time Matt Bryant trash talked Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy. Following the Falcons loss, Hardy strutted off the field, profanely yelling for the Atlanta Falcons to “Get the f*** off our field!” Cool, calm, and collected Money Matt replied, “Have fun watching us in January.”
Probably one of the favorite moments Falcons fans recall when you ask them about Matt Bryant is the Seattle Seahawks playoff game. It happened in the Divisional Round, and with eight seconds remaining in the game, Bryant kicked a game-winning 49-yard field goal, sending the Falcons to the NFC Championship. It’s moments like that which make him the best kicker in Atlanta Falcons history.
The Falcons crashed back down to earth in 2013, with a 4-12 record. Matt Bryant still had a reliable season, kicking 24/27 attempts, with an 88.9% field goal accuracy.
The 2014 season started off with a bang, in the Falcons Week 1 matchup against the loathsome New Orleans Saints. With four seconds remaining in the 4th quarter, Matt Bryant kicked a 51-yard field goal, sending the rivalry to overtime. Following a Marques Colston fumble, the Falcons got Matt Bryant into field goal range, where he made a 52-yard field goal, silencing the opposition. The NFL recognized his performance, awarding him with the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
During the Week 10 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Matt Bryant became the second player in Atlanta Falcons history to reach 600 points scored.
Due to a quad injury, Bryant was only available for 10 games that season. In the Week 1 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, Matt’s 47-yard field goal with 6:27 remaining and his 14 overall points helped deliver the Falcons a Monday Night Football victory.
Unfortunately, Matt Bryant was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 11, ending his season.
Ah, yes, the magical 2016 season. It was no less of a magical season for Money Matt, who surpassed kicker Morten Andersen for the Falcons’ record for points scored with 807. After making 11 of his 12 field goal attempts during the month of Oct., Bryant was recognized as the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month. He also scored the most points that season out of everyone in the NFL, with 158, and received his first Pro Bowl invitation, which was well-deserved.
I’m just going to ignore the potential Super Bowl-winning kick that he would’ve made, and should’ve taken place.
In the Week 2 victory against the Green Bay Packers, Matt Bryant became the first kicker in Atlanta Falcons history to make 200 field goals. Bryant would again make history, scoring his 1000th career point in the victory against the New Orleans Saints.
The Falcons clinched a playoff spot in Week 17, as Matt made five field goals, including a 56-yarder. Due to his performance, he was named as the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Sadly, this would be the final season that Matt Bryant would kick for the Falcons — or so we thought. During the Week 6 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bryant suffered a hamstring injury after converting on a 57-yard field goal, which gave the Falcons the victory.
Matt Bryant’s final kick in 2018 came against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 17. With four seconds remaining, Bryant converted on a 37-yarder, giving the Falcons a 34-32 victory.
Even with his career-high 95.2% field goal accuracy, the team decided to move on from Matt Bryant at the start of the off-season.
Matt Bryant has many accomplishments, from having the most field goals made in Atlanta Falcons history (250) to currently being the eighth most accurate kicker in NFL history (86.222%).
Personally, I’m grateful that I’ve gotten to witness one of the legendary players in Falcons history. When you look around the NFL and see kickers constantly losing games for teams, you realize how privileged we are to have had such a reliable kicker for the past decade.
Even though it’s a business, I was really devastated to learn that the team released him. I like many of you, am excited to know that we have Matt Bryant back in Atlanta — where he deserves to end his career on his own terms.