Jake Matthews is the new all time Atlanta Falcons iron man, now having played in his 156th consecutive game Sunday against the Jets, moving him ahead of Ring of Honor member Jeff Van Note for first place in franchise history.
Following an injury in his first ever NFL game, in 2014, Matthews was inactive for the Week 2 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals with Gabe Carimi serving as the team’s starting left tackle. Little did we know at the time, that would be the last time somebody not named Jake Matthews would line up as the starting left tackle for the Atlanta Falcons at any point for the next decade.
From Week 3 of that season all the way until now, Matthews has been the picture of durability, never having missed a start at one of the most important positions in football. This is now his 10th season, and he has played in 157 out of 158 possible regular season games at this point.
The closest that streak came to ending was last season, when Matthews’ wife went into labor the morning of a Week 10 Thursday Night Football match against the Panthers. The left tackle made the drive from Charlotte back to Atlanta for the delivery, before hopping on owner Arthur Blank’s private jet right back to North Carolina so he wouldn’t miss the matchup.
Showing up to work every weekend without missing a game runs in the family. Jake’s father — NFL Hall of Fame inductee Bruce Matthews — once made 229 consecutive starts between 1987-2002, which is the fifth most in NFL history.
Jake will need to make 54 more consecutive starts to enter the top 10, but right now it seems that he has the best chance out of anybody in the league to do so as he currently holds the longest active streak in the NFL.