Matt Ryan was about one half of football away from making an appointment with his tailor to get fitted for his gold Hall of Fame jacket in 2017.
The Atlanta Falcons led the New England Patriots 28-3 heading into the second half of Super Bowl LI and looked to be capping off Ryan’s MVP season with a win in the big game.
Then the unthinkable happened.
The Patriots came back and won the game that will live in Falcons infamy.
Matt Ryan’s name will forever be associated with one of the biggest meltdowns in NFL playoff history.
He had a chance to officially put his name into the Hall of Fame conversation as a legitimate contender.
Now, he is viewed more as a Canton pretender — all thanks to that one game.
To the average fan, hearing the name Matt Ryan and Hall of Fame sounds ridiculous.
But after taking a look at some of the Hall of Famers that came before him and his career numbers, one might think differently about the Atlanta quarterback’s Hall of Fame case.
Let’s take a look at a few Hall of Fame QBs who compare to Ryan in that they were all considered one of the elite quarterbacks in the league throughout their career but were never really considered to be the best at their position.
Miss catching balls from the ice man. Too bad they had to tackle me after otherwise I’d still be playing!! 😮. pic.twitter.com/ABMqCQLJle
— Tony Gonzalez (@TonyGonzalez88) September 12, 2019
Like Ryan, Jim Kelly is more known for losing Super Bowls than winning them.
To be fair, Kelly’s Bills did make it to four Super Bowls in a row, but they came up short in each of them.
Kelly was elected to five Pro Bowls in his ten year career and was selected First Team All Pro once.
Ryan is a four time Pro Bowler and has also been named First Team All Pro once.
Kurt Warner’s elite qualities consisted of his leadership and his accuracy, which is similar to what Matt Ryan does well.
Neither are known for spectacular arm strength, but neither have ever struggled to make all of the necessary throws.
Warner and Ryan have the exact same number of Pro Bowl and First Team All Pro selections.
The only difference — Warner has a Super Bowl win.
Ryan, though, has won almost double the amount of NFL games with 113 wins compared to Warner’s 67.
Ken Stabler’s game isn’t really comparable to the Falcons signal caller, but their status among the best QBs of their time is.
Stabler had the likes of Terry Bradshaw, Joe Namath, and Roger Staubach with whom to compete while Ryan has always played second fiddle to guys like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers.
We don’t hold Stabler (who had a career completion percentage of 59.8 compared to Ryan’s 65.4) accountable for never being the top dog on the list, so why should we do the same for Matt Ryan?
Both have one First Team All Pro selection and four Pro Bowl Selections.
Ryan’s career seems to be on the downward trend, and while it may appear that he will be held accountable for that in Canton, Stabler never was as his last few years in the league were abysmal.
He may have never won the big game, but we have to give Matt Ryan some credit for where he will rank on some all-time lists when it is all said and done.
He is currently ranked ninth all-time with 55,767 passing yards.
He has only played twelve seasons.
Every player ahead of him has played 15 at the least.
He is also 10th on the all-time passing touchdowns list, 9th in completions and completion percentage, and 13th in passer rating.
Pro Football Reference has a Hall of Fame Monitor score at 97.4 — only four below the average Hall of Fame QB at 101.
He ranks just ahead of current Hall of Famers Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, and Dan Fouts.
Believe it or not, Matt Ryan is one of the more accomplished quarterbacks the game has ever seen.
The only thing he hasn’t accomplished is winning a Super Bowl ring.
The same should be done for Ryan who ranks in the top 10 all-time in several important passing categories.
In looking at the top 10 list in career passing yards, all of them are either in the HOF, still playing, or they're Peyton Manning, who will assuredly go into the HOF when he is up for nomination in 2021.
Say it with me, Matt Ryan Hall of Fame Inductee. https://t.co/YYzlYglkfT
— Matt Karoly (@mattkaroly) November 15, 2019