Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is more than the player that lost a 28-3 advantage in Super Bowl LI.
While the big prize still eludes him, the former Boston College standout has achieved a ton of accolades during his career.
Now in his late 30s, he may have a few years left in his career.
But Ryan is still the same offensive threat that he was during his younger years.
#Falcons QB Matt Ryan signing some autographs pregame in Miami. pic.twitter.com/zQ7p3UJWdY
— Justin Felder (@Justin_FOX5) August 21, 2021
As he has grown older, he is the undisputed leader of the Falcons, and those who joined the team in the latter years looked up to him.
Only he can dictate when he will retire.
Before that day comes, it’s best to look back at his best seasons in the NFL.
Ryan got his third Pro Bowl selection this year even if the Falcons did not make it to the playoffs.
They had convincing wins during the season, such as the 56-14 demolition of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the 30-14 victory over the New Orleans Saints in Week 16.
Unfortunately, they had bitter losses as well.
The Detroit Lions edged them by a point, 22-21, in the game played at Wembley Stadium.
Most passing yards with 0 INT in a season opener
Peyton Manning (2013) 462
Matt Ryan (2014) 448
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 8, 2014
There was also the 26-24 loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 12 at home.
Eventually, Ryan finished the year with 4,694 yards, 28 touchdowns, and a 66.1 percent completion rate.
He only had 14 interceptions all season long.
Sadly, the Falcons won just six games, and head coach Mike Smith lost his job to Dan Quinn.
The Falcons went 1-3 during the preseason, proving that those tune-up games mean little to a team’s fate.
Ryan and company won 13 games and made the playoffs.
They had a serious chance of finishing the regular season with 15 wins if not for the four-point loss to the Saints and the five-point defeat to the Buccaneers.
But their record guaranteed them a first-round bye which they put to good use by beating the Seattle Seahawks in the Divisional round.
However, they lost at home to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC title game.
Matt Ryan’s league rank in passing yards by year:
He’s so under-appreciated.
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) August 25, 2019
In that game, he still threw for 396 yards and three touchdowns despite a sprain on his non-throwing shoulder.
Still, there’s no denying that Ryan was lights out during that season.
He completed 68 percent of his passes for 4,719 yards and 32 touchdowns.
At year’s end, Ryan received his second Pro Bowl distinction but opted to skip the festivities due to his injury.
Save for the tragedy that is Super Bowl LI, this was the peak of Ryan’s career.
He led the Falcons to an 11-5 record and finished the regular season with only seven interceptions.
In contrast, the Pennsylvania native threw for career highs of 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns.
As such, he also achieved career highs in passer rating (117.1) and quarterback rating (79.6).
Matt Ryan’s best MVP season throws, a thread: pic.twitter.com/7pYMPojOx6
— Rohan #ForAcuña (@DirtyBirdz11) August 11, 2021
Aside from being named to his fourth Pro Bowl, Ryan was also hailed as first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press.
He also won the Burt Bell Award and the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in that season.
More importantly, Ryan took NFL MVP honors after a stellar campaign.NEXT: Josh Rosen Gets Yet Another NFL Chance With Falcons