Matthew Thomas “Matt” Ryan (born May 17, 1985 in Exton, Pennsylvania) is the starting American football quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League. He was drafted in the first round as the third overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. He play college football at Boston College.
During his rookie year, Ryan started all 16 games for the falcons and led them to the playoffs with a 11-5 season record. His season performances earned him as the 2008 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year
Ryan was drafted by the Falcons third overall in the 2008 NFL Draft. He played college football at Boston College and has been nicknamed by several teammates “Matty Ice.” From the 2005 season through 2007, he was Boston College‘s starter, leading them to three bowl victories and a 25-7 record in 32 starts. He threw for 200 or more yards 15 times and is fifth all-time in school history in passing yards and in pass completions. He also earned MVP honors at the 2005 MPC Computers Bowl. In 2007, Ryan led his team to an ACC Atlantic Division championship and was named ACC Player of the Year. He has also earned honors as the 2008 NFL AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Ryan is the third of Bernice and Michael Ryan’s four children. His family of origin is Irish-Catholic. Ryan’s uncle, John Loughery, played quarterback at Boston College from 1979-82. Ryan launched a website during his senior year at BC called Mattyice.com, where fans and media have 24-hour access to video highlights, updated biographical information, statistics and other information about Ryan. He also created an activity named “Folleyball” for NFL Play 60 at NFL Rush.com. Ryan is also an avid golfer and has participated in such tournaments as the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, including Augusta National Golf Club. Ryan also is part of the Falcons online reading program “Read with a Falcon”.
High school career
Ryan attended the William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was a three-year starter for coach Brian McCloskey, earned All-East honors from Larunt Lemming Prep Football Report. He captured All-Southeastern Pennsylvania accolades as a senior quarterback in addition to receiving All-City first-team honors in 2002 and second-team recognition in 2001. A three-time All-League selection, he threw for more than 1,300 yards with 9 touchdowns as a senior, finishing his career by completing more than 52 percent of his pass attempts during all three seasons at the helm. Ryan played football, basketball and baseball while in high school and was named captain of all three teams his senior year. He was quarterback of the football team in 2002, played small forward on the basketball team, and was a pitcher and a shortstop on the baseball team.
Before the 2004 season, he was named backup due to an injury to Quinton Porter. He saw his first action on October 2, 2004 against the UMass Minutemen. He completed two of three passes for 16 yards. He completed his first touchdown on November 20, 2004 against Temple on a 32-yard completion to Larry Lester. Replacing the injured Paul Peterson, he completed eight of 15 passes for 121 yards. He made his first collegiate start on November 27, 2004 in the final game of that season, completing 24 of 51 passes for 200 yards against Syracuse. He also played against North Carolina in the Continental Tire Bowl. He completed one of his two passes for 13 yards. Matt was also quite proficient in the classroom, and was awarded the 2004 Freshman Male Scholar-Athlete award that same year.
At the beginning of the 2005 season, Ryan was named the second string quarterback behind Quinton Porter. Porter had some success at the beginning of the year, including winning Atlantic Coast Conference player of the week for his performance in Boston College’s 28–17 win over Virginia. After a 30–10 loss to third-ranked Virginia Tech, coach Tom O’Brien finally went to Ryan for good in the 4th Quarter of the next game against North Carolina. In ten games (five starts), he completed 121 of 195 passes for 1,514 yards. He had eight touchdowns and five interceptions. He also had five rushing touchdowns and 94 yards. He started his first bowl game in the MPC Computers Bowl versus Boise State. He completed 19 of 36 passes for 256 yards and a career-best three touchdowns.
Ryan started 11 of 12 games. He completed 243 of 398 passes for 2,700 yards, 14 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He also ran for three touchdowns. He was All-ACC first-team and led the ACC in total offense (242.2 yards per game) and in passing yards (245.5 yards per game). He was named ACC Offensive Back of the week 3 times. He set career highs in completions (32 vs. Central Michigan) and passing yards (356 vs. Brigham Young). He led the team to a 9-3 record including double overtime wins versus Clemson and Brigham Young. He led the Eagles to a close 25-24 victory on December 26, 2006 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against Navy in Charlotte, North Carolina. In the season opener against Central Michigan, Ryan sprained his ankle. Against Virginia Tech, Ryan broke his foot on the same leg. Despite these injuries, Ryan only missed one game (against Buffalo). His 57 pass attempts in the 2006 Wake Forest game tied Shawn Halloran vs. Syracuse Orange in 1985 and Frank Harris vs. Army in 1968 for the BC record his 40 pass completions in the 2006 Wake Forest game broke the old school record of 37 by Frank Harris in the 1968 Army clash.
Before the season started Ryan was named to the preseason All-ACC team. Against Wake Forest, he completed 32 of 52 passes for 408 yards and 5 touchdowns. Boston College also hired a new coach: Jeff Jagodzinski a longtime NFL assistant. He continued his hot streak versus Georgia Tech, going 30-44 with 1 TD and passing for a career-high 435 yards against the staunch Tech defense en route to a convincing 24-10 road victory. After this game, Ryan was suggested as a potential Heisman Trophy contender. Battling Virginia Tech through bad weather in Blacksburg, Virginia, Ryan led an amazing comeback for the Boston College Eagles, passing for two touchdowns with less than 3 minutes to play on October 25, 2007, including the game-winner with 11 seconds left to Andre Callender. However, Matt Ryan’s chances to win the Heisman fell sharply after he threw three interceptions in a 27-17 loss to Florida State, an unranked team that had six wins and three losses. However with a strong performance against Clemson his chances were raised substantially. Despite 2 consecutive ACC losses, Ryan and the Eagles found themselves with a trip to the conference championship on the line. Down 10-3 in the third quarter, he led the offense on a game-tying drive, hitting on key passes to Rich Gunnell,Andre Callender and Ryan Purvis , landing the Eagles at the Clemson 2 early in the fourth.James McCluskey finished the job from there, running it in to even the score at 10-apiece. Shortly thereafter, a Clemson turnover resulted in a BC field goal and a 13-10 lead for the maroon and gold . On November 24, against ACC rival Miami, Ryan surpassed Doug Flutie for the most passing touchdowns in a single season by an Eagle QB with 28 TD’s, ultimately ending the season with 31. Despite these records, he struggled with throwing interceptions throughout the year, and finished with 19 (2nd most among college quarterbacks).His five touchdown passes in the 2007 Wake Forest game are one shy of the school record of six, held by Doug Flutie in 1984 vs North Carolina. For the maroon and gold, it was their first 10-win regular season since 1940 and the first time they had achieved back-to-back 10-overall-win seasons in program history. He led the Eagles to extend the nation’s longest bowl winning streak to eight with a 24-21 victory over Michigan State Spartans in the Champs Sports Bowl on December 28, Ryan threw three touchdown passes, two to Rich Gunnell and one to Jon Loyte . Matt Ryan was awarded the 2007 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given annually in the United States to the Nation’s most outstanding college football senior quarterback , the other finalists for the 2007 award were Hawaii’s Colt Brennan, Louisville’s Brian Brohm , Oregon’s Dennis Dixon and Kentucky’s Andre Woodson ( all of whom were drafted at the 2008 NFL Draft ) He was selected to play in the 2008 Senior Bowl. He also won the 2007 Manning Award awarded to the nation’s top quarterback , beating out eventual Heisman winner Tim Tebow and eight other finalists for this year’s award: Erik Ainge (Tennessee), Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Colt Brennan (Hawaii), Chase Daniel (Missouri), Dennis Dixon (Oregon), Graham Harrell (Texas Tech), Pat White (West Virginia) and Andre’ Woodson (Kentucky). He also he was named “Eagle of the Year” alongside BC’s first ever individual champion Kasey Hill, in November, he was asked to talk at the Boston College Multi-Cultural Thanksgiving celebration where he spoke of family, integrity and devotion. He is featured as the cover athlete for the PS3 version of NCAA Football 09
On August 24, Ryan was named the starting quarterback for the September 7 regular season opener against the Detroit Lions becoming the first rookie quarterback to start a season for the Falcons since Steve Bartkowski in 1975. In the game, Ryan completed his first NFL pass for a 62-yard touchdown to Michael Jenkins, becoming the first quarterback to throw a touchdown on his first career NFL pass since Michael Bishop of the New England Patriots in 2000. Ryan was sacked for the first time by Lions defensive player Dewayne White in his first win. The second game of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers marked Ryan’s first interception by rookie cornerback Aqib Talib and also by Sabby Piscitelli. In week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs, he completed the longest TD pass in his career for 70 yards to Roddy White. The 70-yard touchdown pass to White is the longest pass completion for the Falcons since December 23, 2007, when Chris Redman threw a 74-yard touchdown pass. In the same game Ryan completed passes to 6 different players. The following week, he threw for 194 yds and two TDs against the Green Bay Packers. His touchdown passes went to Roddy White and tight end Justin Peelle. The following week against the Chicago Bears Ryan lead the Falcons to a comeback win. With 6 seconds left he completed a 26-yard strike to Michael Jenkins that set Jason Elam up for the game-winning field goal as time expired. Ryan finished the game 22-of-30 for a then career-high 301 passing yards. He also had a key fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Roddy White. On Atlanta’s first offensive drive, Ryan completed all five of his pass attempts for 57 yards en route to a Falcons field goal and a 3–0 lead. Ryan was named Diet Pepsi Rookie of the week for his performance.
On October 30, Ryan was honored as the NFC Rookie of the Month for October following an impressive string of games in which he led the Falcons to a 2–1 record. Ryan became the first player in Atlanta Falcons franchise history to be awarded this honor In week 8 against the Oakland Raiders, Ryan finished with the highest completion percentage of his career (77.3). He threw for 220 yards and posted a quarterback rating of 138.4. He also completed passes to eight different receivers and the game was his third multiple touchdown game (Green Bay, Philadelphia). His first half passing yardage, completion percentage (81.3) and passer rating (154.2) are all career highs for a half and his two touchdowns tie a first half high, Ryan’s final completion percentage of 77.3 is a career-high along with his passer rating of 138.4. He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week following his performance against the Raiders. He scored his first rushing TD against the New Orleans Saints in December 7 with a 12-yard touchdown scramble , Ryan also achieved 3000+ passing yards in the 2008 season being only the 2nd rookie to do so. Peyton Manning was the first. Ryan became the first Falcons rookie quarterback in franchise history to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season after finishing with 206 yards against Tampa Bay , Ryan’s passing total also makes him only the 10th quarterback in club annals to hit the 3,000-yard mark and the first since 1998 when Chris Chandler threw 3,154. It was also his first overtime win as a starter. He was named the Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week for games played after his performance by the second time in his career. Ryan finished second amongst rookies in fan Pro Bowl voting (416,468 votes) , only behind Titans Runningback Chris Johnson. Ryan threw for a season-low 134 yards Week 16 against Minnesota Vikings, ending a streak of nine straight games with at least 200 yards passing , he finished 13-of-24 passing, throwing an 8-yard touchdown passes to Jerious Norwood in the second quarter, however with this win Ryan lead the Falcons to their first playoff berth since 2004.
He finished the season with 3,440 passing yds, 17 touchdowns (one rushing), and 11 interceptions. He and fellow rookie Joe Flacco were the first rookie quarterbacks to lead their teams to the playoffs after starting all 16 games of the season. He is also one of the two rookie quarterbacks to throw for over 3,000 yards in their rookie season (the other being Peyton Manning). On December 31, Ryan was named the AP NFL Rookie of the Year.
Ryan made his first playoff start against the Arizona Cardinals in January 3 , 2009. Ryan was 15 years younger than opposing quarterback Kurt Warner, which is 3rd on the list of biggest age difference of playoff quarterbacks. His first attempted playoff pass was an interception. Ryan completed 26 of 40 passing attempts for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns but was intercepted twice. He threw his first TD in a playoff contest to Justin Peelle. Atlanta lost the game 30-24. Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith and Ryan became the first rookie Head Coach and rookie quarterback to coach and compete in a playoff game since the Cleveland Rams accomplished the feat in 1945 (the feat was repeated the next day when Ravens Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh did so.) During the game, Ryan set a NFL playoff rookie record with 26 completions in a single postseason game.
Ryan was voted by his teammates as Offensive Captain alongside Todd McClure at the end of the 2008 Season. He was first on the depth chart and was the Falcons starting quarterback for the second consecutive season.
Ryan started off the season fast as he threw for 229 yds and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions as he lead the Falcons to a 19-7 win against the Miami Dolphins in the 2009 NFL season opener. In Week 2, Ryan led the Falcons past the Carolina Panthers. Ryan had a career high in touchdown passes (3), completion percentage (78%) and touchdown passes in a half (3). He finished the game 21-28 with 220 yards, 3 touchdowns and a pick. In week 3, Ryan and the Falcons lost to the New England Patriots. Ryan completed 17-28 for 199 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
In Week 5 game against the San Francisco 49ers, he completed 15 of 21 passes for 258 yards in the first half, setting a new career-high for the first half of play. Ryan finished the game having completed 22 of 32 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns for a 110.0 passer rating. Ryan tossed a 31-yard strike to Roddy White and he connected to White again in the second quarter with a 90-yard touchdown. The pass and reception for Ryan and White set new career highs. The pass and reception also mark the third longest in franchise history and the longest pass play since 2001. The game was his third-career 300-yard passing outing as the second-year quarterback set a new career-high in total passing yards in a single game.
In Weeks 6 through 9, Ryan generally struggled, throwing more interceptions (8) than touchdowns (6), was sacked 10 times, and had an average passing rating of 65.5. Still, he led the Falcons to two victories in the four games, in part thanks to Michael Turner returning to the form of 2008.
In Week 12, Matt Ryan suffered a turf toe injury during the game against Tampa Bay. Chris Redman stepped in and managed to win the game by connecting to Roddy White for a touchdown in the 4th quarter, 4th and goal with :23 left. During the absence of Matt Ryan, as well as Michael Turner, the Falcons lost to Philly and New Orleans in Weeks 13 and 14. Matt Ryan did not fully recover from his turf toe injury; but in Week 15 Ryan played through pain and led Atlanta to a 10-7 win and upset against the New York Jets.
In Week 16, the Falcons slaughtered the Buffalo Bills in a 31-3 win. Matt Ryan threw for 250 yards with 3 touchdowns, two of them to Roddy White. In the last game of the season, the Falcons defeated the Bucs 20-10.
With a record of 9-7, the Atlanta Falcons attained back to back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history.
Ryan finished the season throwing for 2916 yards with 22 TDs and 14 INTs. He had a rating of 80.9. Ryan also rushed for 49 yards and one touchdown.