It would be fair to say that despite the misgivings I had when he was drafted, I’ve become a pretty big Matt Ryan fan over the years. That’s what happens when a quarterback spends more than a decade with a team, throwing for over 50,000 and 300 touchdowns and winning the only MVP award in team history, as well as piloting his team to a Super Bowl that we don’t really talk about for our own collective wellbeing.
While there have been hints over the years that Ryan has a fun personality—think him asking the Panthers politely and quietly to leave the field of play due to their losing ways—the general perception of Ryan in the land of fans and NFL media has been that he’s kind of a square. Ever the professional and snappy dresser, Ryan has not really done much to dispel that perception.
in every photo Matt Ryan is confidently strolling into a Trader Joe's looking for green tea mochi bites and cookie butter https://t.co/ByaPvY4laV— BUM CHILLUPS, NPR CLASS PUNDIT (@edsbs) September 30, 2018
Lately, though, Ryan’s been everywhere. His GoFundMe, seeded with $500,000 of his own money and accompanied by thoughtful statements about the need to speak up, has landed him interviews on The Daily Show and more. Over the last couple of days, he’s been lining up radio shows and podcasts, too, and they’ve been full of interesting comments.
No, Matt Ryan isn’t promising us a 16 game season and he’s not vowing he’ll be MVP, but especially in late June, what he had to say on Pardon My Take yesterday was fun and novel. Let’s get into it. If you’re more of an audio/visual person, the full interview can be accessed here.
Matt Ryan: Matt Ryan is the best QB in the NFC South...right now
Ryan’s boldest comments were on Pardon My Take, where with some significant prodding from the hosts, he predicted 12 wins and said he’s the best quarterback in the division. At least right now.
This is about as bold as it gets for Ryan. The 12 wins seems farfetched based on the last couple of seasons, but Ryan being the best quarterback in a division that features two creaky future Hall of Famers and a very good but not exactly elite Teddy Bridgewater no longer seems all that controversial.
Matt Ryan gets the @PardonMyTake “thanks for the headlines” good intervew guy of the yr award. Thinks:— PFTCommenter (@PFTCommenter) June 24, 2020
-Falcons will win 12 games
-And hes the best QB in the NFC South (shots fired at Taysom Hill) pic.twitter.com/ix9kcnhI0x
On Kyle Shanahan having Chris Simms’ initials tattooed on him
You know what, too weird. Ryan repeatedly says even Matt Simms busted on Shanny for that one but I don’t think I need the full story. Any context would just make this less magical.
The hosts here tried to goad Ryan into saying he and Shanahan have bad blood, but he won’t bite.
It actually would’ve been a surprise if they didn’t ask Ryan’s thoughts on the infamous Super Bowl collapse and how it affected him.
“As much as anything can suck, as bad as it gets. It still stings a little bit,” Ryan said. “Hopefully I can get back there soon and change the narrative. I gave my helmet a pretty good launch when I got into the locker room.”
Finishing strong for Dan Quinn
After stumbling out of the gate last season, the Falcons managed to win 6 of their final 8 games which ultimately led to both head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff keeping their jobs. Ryan discussed how the team went all out for their beloved coach.
“Yeah, I think there was definitely like a sense of playing for him the second half of the season and being like, ‘You know what this guy is too good of a guy, too good of a coach, we just don’t want it to go out like this’,” Ryan said. “So whatever was gonna happen let’s finish it off the right way. We finish up 6-2 beat some really good teams, two of them on the road in New Orleans and San Francisco down. It obviously sucked the way we started, but it was fun to be a part of that ride the second half of the season. To see [Dan Quinn] kind of get emotional at the end of the year realizing guys were playing for him and wanted him to be there so badly.”
Ryan is still hoping to raise more for his GoFundMe, and as part of that will be heading up a 12 hour radiothon on 680 the Fan next Tuesday, June 30. Hopefully we’ll get some more interesting soundbites from him during that.