Matt Ryan is the only quarterback I’ve covered since I began covering the Falcons 12 years ago. Having had the opportunity to interact with him on a regular basis for years, I can confirm that the easygoing, friendly guy you see on TV actually behaves that way in real life, too.
In my experience, he was universally respectful to his teammates, coaches, the Falcons’ staff, media — everyone he interacted with on a day to day basis with the Falcons. He has a quick wit and a good sense of humor. He’s always been a good ambassador for the team when interacting with the media, and has been quick to take responsibility and doesn’t deflect blame.
Ryan’s impact in Atlanta extended far beyond the gridiron.
From Jarvis Davis, formerly of 92.9 The Game here in Atlanta.
I got a Matt Ryan moment for you. I was dating this young lady, and she invited me to see her nephew play at Georgia Tech. Well, her nephew had a very long day that day at cornerback. Matt lit his ass up ALL day, I’m talking about Bombs over Baghdad! I had a nice intro to Matt Ryan that day. My favorite MR moment lol.
Here’s a personal memory.— Neutral Milk Tea Hotel (@james_art_do) March 21, 2022
I worked for atlanta falcons radio and did the pregame set up.
got to watch Matt and Julio warm up.
Should’ve taken more videos lol. https://t.co/Wv7psXqArS pic.twitter.com/wnI3p1zMDb
In '15 I hosted traumatized kids from Mother Emanuel from Charleston with Julio, Rico & other Falcons at my church. Matty Ice saw the social media post and supported the occasion. It was a small gesture to compliment the many times he has given back to Atlanta. He will be missed— Audraine Jackson (@atlstoryteller) March 21, 2022
The hug he gave me in the locker room after Lions/Falcons @ Ford Field, in 2011.— Champion (@ZekeTrezevant) March 21, 2022
I gave my Vick jersey away the next day. https://t.co/A5HO7npbEf
I remember introducing @M_Ryan02 at a @BCEagles event here in Atlanta weeks after draft day. I had arrived less than a year earlier to this same city, and having Matty be the QB for my new home team was incredibly special. https://t.co/UYIhFukjLM pic.twitter.com/Hm2K7A9e06— (@MMcCunney) March 22, 2022
I’ve worked with Matt on a professional level for 11 seasons. He is the epitome of professionalism, class and just a plain decent guy. He will be missed— dwain cardwell (@dwaindaddy) March 22, 2022
I’d like to thank him for always being the friendliest person in the room. He is a genuinely nice guy who loves the fans. pic.twitter.com/uas8BkfOyr— Camille (@CamilleW_Media) March 22, 2022
The comeback wins and game-winning drives
Matt Ryan was put in a position to save games far too often during his Falcons tenure, and he lived up to the challenge.
Forgot the game but I just remember the Falcons were behind by 2, receiving the kickoff with 18 seconds left and no timeouts. Ryan got them into field goal range in two plays! Won the game! https://t.co/gn2pK16R4V— Bobby Robson (@TheWayRLR) March 22, 2022
Matt Ryan to Roddy White and Tony G, and repeat. 30-28 win vs Carolina back in 2012, classic Matt Ryan to Roddy to set up the win on a Matt Bryant FG. Great memories with those guys.— BuzzKi11 (@OleBuzzKi11) March 22, 2022
Appreciation for Matt Ryan as a player, a leader, and a person
The Falcons were lucky to have him, and so were the fans.
I officially washed my hands of the Falcons yesterday but I can’t NOT acknowledge @M_Ryan02. I will never forget his first NFL pass and how it immediately felt like things were going to be okay after a hellish and dramatic couple of seasons for the Falcons.— Jenna Bannister (@JennaEarwood) March 21, 2022
He’s never been given the respect that he deserves. Atlanta fans love drama and Matt didn’t come with any. You never had to worry about negative press. The worst we ever saw out of him were a few nationally-televised “fucks.” But those only made me love him more. pic.twitter.com/cXfEHfYOW3— Jenna Bannister (@JennaEarwood) March 21, 2022
This man took hit after hit behind a piss-poor OL for most of his time here. We can count how many games he’s missed in 14 YEARS on one hand. ONE HAND. In fact, legend has it that Chumbawamba wrote that song about Matt Ryan.— Jenna Bannister (@JennaEarwood) March 21, 2022
Matt and @sryan03 have done so much for this city and I am eternally grateful for their dedication. I can’t wait to follow y’all to Indy You deserve a supportive fanbase. Best of luck to Matt (the greatest Falcon of all time), Sarah, and the Cubes. Love y’all. pic.twitter.com/lZYVvFpl7D— Jenna Bannister (@JennaEarwood) March 21, 2022
I wasn’t on board with this Matt but I wish you well. I’ll be watching you in Indy. https://t.co/Qq5gbCYklA— Girl, No. (@RaveenTheDream) March 21, 2022
I will always appreciate how you never had to worry about @M_Ryan02. You knew he would be ready, be professional, never be in off field trouble, and be a class act.— Eli Kirshtein (@EliKirshtein) March 22, 2022
Matt Ryan was the superhero Atlanta didn’t know they needed. He swooped in & gave us fans a reason to proudly wear the red&black again. It goes beyond football. He was a great leader, a great human & Atlanta was lucky to have him. He’ll go down as one of the best Falcons ever. ❤️— ️ (@PreyaMargarita) March 21, 2022
He made Vick lovers love HIM. No small feat.— TheMitchSports (@TheMitchSports) March 22, 2022
You can say a lot about Matt Ryan, but the one thing that can’t be understated is how tough he was. 3 missed games entirely his career, with 450 sacks taken.— Have You Met Niggas? (@paul_fly) March 22, 2022
Matt & Sarah Ryan gave as much to the city of Atlanta as they gave to the team and we all know Matt gave every bit of himself to the Falcons.— Michael Kelly (@michaeljkellyjr) March 21, 2022
While guys like Rodgers, Cousins, Jackson, et. al., stumbled over themselves trying to figure out a clever way to remain covertly unvaccinated, here’s Matt Ryan (father of two premies) doing a COVID-19 vaccine PSA with an epidemiologist. https://t.co/g9sLRU38QM— Andrew Baker (@brakerbaker) March 21, 2022
Not me coming here to say something, seeing it already tweeted, then scrolling and slowly tearing up. Man, what a great guy the Falcons had.— katie (@kaytea48) March 22, 2022
The opportunity to take the whole family to their first Atlanta Falcons event. From living overseas, living in Boston and finally able to move back home to have my children to experience the love of the team, and enjoy the excitement I had of witnessing Ryan in person pic.twitter.com/Okg3qVDW5K— J. Hughes (@BluReaper14) March 21, 2022
Maybe now he'll finally get the respect & recognition he deserves!— Dirty Birds Girl (@Shar_Q) March 21, 2022
Matt, go make believers out of the haters!!!
Matt Ryan making himself available after the SB. He was the such a class act.— DirtyBird345 (@Dirtybird345) March 21, 2022
I was 11 years old when he was drafted and he has been my favorite NFL player from the start. It’s sad to see a player who was on your team for more than half your life leave. I’m sad to see him go but glad he is getting an opportunity to win.— Jacob Parsoñs (@jakepar24) March 21, 2022
This moment between Matt and Sarah always makes me tear up. And man, I just. Can’t believe this era is over. I’ll forever love the Ryan’s. pic.twitter.com/U51PmX6qg6— Jose ; YHLQMDLG (@HoezayGatsbee) March 21, 2022
It’s a sad day for Atl, our leader is gone.He deserved better from the Falcons. He never complained&represented the organization with class in spite of the fact that he was thrown under the bus &never giving him what he needed to succeed. Best QB in Falcons history, I thank you.— Radhika D. Desai (@RadhikaDDesai2) March 22, 2022
Greatest player in franchise history.— JOSH B OF THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONS #HBTD (@jdb426) March 22, 2022
Never said a bad word about a coach or teammate.
Never made excuses, even after THAT game in Houston.
Only missed 3 games despite that sorry excuse for an OL.
Did more for Atlanta than we'll ever realize.
Go get that ring.
As a Saints fan that was 28 y/o when Matt Ryan entered the league, I have seen a lot of Ryan over the years. He was a rival but I always respected the tenacity he brought to the game. A fierce competitor. Only a 3rd round pick for him, tho? A shame.— ⚜️ (@datcoupleNOLA) March 22, 2022
We can never repay Matt for all he did for the city. I hope the Ryan family will always think of Atlanta as a second home. Now go get that ring!— chica khan (@drumwife0112) March 21, 2022
I’d just say the dignity and leadership shown when I couldn’t imagine showing the same through more instances and examples than I could imagine listing.— Rico “Lifelong Colts Fan” O’Callahan (@RCallahanKO) March 21, 2022
I have no idea how he did it.
Only time I saw him live. Did not matter the aweful beat down, I was really Happy to Watch him. Did mot want to miss him like I missed on Julio.— Julio (@JuliocMontoyaa) March 21, 2022
4 ever Matty Ice. Best Falcon Ever. HOFer. pic.twitter.com/3Y9by1Dc1W
The Falcons were in such a dark place when Matt was drafted. He turned this franchise around from that first pass- a touch down. We knew then that there were better days ahead. God bless, and I hope he gets that ring.— Leeroy's Dad (@Grantdawg) March 21, 2022
Thank you for being the absolute best and keeping the Falcons afloat through the good and bad.— LaDarius Brown (@ladarius_brown) March 21, 2022
Seeing you under center every Sunday, Monday or any other day of the week gave me hope.
You'll forever be loved for the work you've done: on and off the field.
Thanks, Matty Ice pic.twitter.com/yclbt2dHDw
He was an ambassador for the city and embraced it as his home. His family seemed to put down roots here. Sarah became a social media fixture and the Ice Cubes did as well. #GoHalcons— Lauren Y. (@LaurenY) March 21, 2022
Never once did he ever consider wanting to leave Atlanta on his own. He was a Falcon from day one until now. He poured everything into trying to bring Falcons fans a title.— SomeRandomGuy (@SomeRndmGuyUT) March 22, 2022
I hope he gets that ring in Indy, because if anyone deserves a title, Matt Ryan does.
This man missed only 3 games in 14 years. He was hit consistently and kept getting up. Pretty much summed up what I feel the city is. You get knocked down, you get back up again. Nothing but love and respect. A true warrior. Salute and best of luck big fella!— Brandon Mincey (@Mince284) March 21, 2022
He never once blamed anyone for team failures, and took accountability for everything. The games where he did everything right and they lost anyway? He would talk about the missed opportunities on offense.— Adam Spain (@HomewardPathMTG) March 22, 2022
Always professional, great leader. I'll miss you @M_Ryan02
I started watching football cuz of Matt. My love of this city comes from his passion on and off the field. His GWD’s, his fade TDs to Julio, his white Vick scrambles, his occasional ‘f bomb’, his utter passion to win above all us. I pray to God and hope he wins it all in Indy pic.twitter.com/SrH8BiXaOf— William McDaniel (@WillmcdMcdaniel) March 22, 2022
I hate that it ended this way, but I'm happy he gets to finish his career with a chance to compete. He deserves it. I'll definitely be cheering him on.— Thomas M. (@thom1020) March 22, 2022
Way too many! Just want to thank him for giving us his all for 14 years and being tough as hell. Not only was Matt and incredible QB, but he was a hell of a person and a great role model. Gunna miss him and what he did for this city! Thank you Matty! pic.twitter.com/9ZGaLkrE9B— Irish O'African (@ComedianJamake) March 22, 2022
From Vinny Carvalho via email:
I became a fan in 2008. Matt was the first jersey I ever bought. He is the only QB I ever known for the Falcons. My favorite moments were him and Julio/Roddy connections. I was tough on him, but I love everything he has done for me, Falcons, and the city of Atlanta. He is a legend! We are going miss you Ice!
I’ve never enjoyed rooting for another professional athlete more, not one time have I ever felt like he shortchanged us as fans or his team. Dude was prepared, never missed games, and never even came close to deflecting blame. Even blame he didn’t deserve. Greatest Falcon ever.— mcgee (@___mcgee___) March 21, 2022
@M_Ryan02 you came when we were at the bottom and only threw a bomb touchdown on your very 1st NFL pass! You shared the funny @sryan03 & the lil Ice Cubes with us. I appreciate all that you did to make this team exciting to watch! Thank You! ❤️— ERIKA (@SKYBABE37) March 21, 2022
What I'll probably always remember about Matt Ryan is how tough he was. I genuinely don't know many quarterbacks who would have had the Hall of Fame career he's had while being absolutely abused like he was. For that alone he will always be my QB1.— Josh Gamez (@Just_JoshG) March 21, 2022
God this hurts so much more than I & I expected it to be bad. I was a fan since February 2008 watching Boston College highlights hopin & prayin ATL took Matty Ice at 3.— Chris Bolden (@Bolden7) March 21, 2022
So many good memories. Year 1 was incredible and I'll never forget the clutch 2008 Bears win with 11 sec left
I truly, with all my heart, hope that Matt gets a ring in Indy and I hope that ring solidifies the HOF convo because Matt deserves to be in Canton— Chris Bolden (@Bolden7) March 21, 2022
MR2 was probably the first QB I got to really watch in Atlanta. He was always a class act and it was a pleasure seeing him put up ridiculous numbers year over year. 28-3 hurts less when you think of how insane the offense was on the way there. Best of luck with the Colts.— Colin Graham (@cpgraham5) March 22, 2022
I honestly feel like a piece of my young adulthood has been ripped out. Matt has been that constant for the last 14 years of my life, from the time I was 18. It's insane to think he won't be suiting up on Sundays for Atlanta anymore. I wish him all the best and a Lombardi!— Broadway Blue Bleeder (@Moorehead_DT) March 21, 2022
He is a class act. To come in after the Vick situation was tough and he gave it a fresh, professional feel. 2016 is something I'll never forget...the Green Bay games. Closing the dome with wins. The run we went on after the KC game was awesome. Naming my future child "Ryan"— Zack Pounders (@ScubaPounders15) March 21, 2022
Way too many! Just want to thank him for giving us his all for 14 years and being tough as hell. Not only was Matt and incredible QB, but he was a hell of a person and a great role model. Gunna miss him and what he did for this city! Thank you Matty! pic.twitter.com/6H9oBYh2ig— Irish O'African (@ComedianJamake) March 22, 2022
In 2008, I went to the Falcons- Chargers game in San Diego and saw the future quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons performed and win a game as a Rookie. This was after the Michael Vick fiasco and I was wearing a Vick jersey at the game and tailgating. Chargers fans let me have it.— Frederick Gooden (@FrederickGooden) March 22, 2022
I didn't even want him in '08 but now don't want him to leave! What are the Falcons without Matt Ryan? The face of the franchise, our leader in every way.— Jean Elgin (@JeanElgin1) March 22, 2022
His first and last pass as a falcons was a touchdown. A true franchise great and will be missed.— MattRyanForever (@Noah30675811) March 21, 2022
Thank you, Matt Ryan. We’re wishing you and your family the very best in your new journey with the Colts.