August 9, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) calls an audible in the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Ryan was ranked as the 17th best player of 2013 after missing the list the year before. He came in right above Joe Flacco. I’ve heard a lot of critics pick apart why Matt Ryan doesn’t belong above Joe Flacco. (I’m pretty sure that everyone thinks it’s bogus that RGIII is above either of these guys)
But should Matt Ryan be ranked above Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco?
I’ve made this argument a countless number of times. Are we looking at the best player, or best champion? People like to point at Flacco and say “He won a Super Bowl; of course he’s better than Matt Ryan.” And I say “really? Are you serious?”
First let’s look at where both teams were in 2007: The Atlanta Falcons ended with a 4-12 record and nothing. After that, they had no coach, no quarterback, no running back, no defense, and a single receiver.
The Ravens ended 5-11 (Not much better) but held onto a lot more games than it looked like, even almost beat the undefeated patriots. This was primarily because although they had no quarterback, and not real great coaching, they had a pretty damn good defense and always have had one.
Since then, both teams had a big make over with a new coach and a new quarterback. However, the ravens already had an implemented run game with an always good defense. It doesn’t take much to turn that into a winning formula. Although Matt Ryan was given a talented running back to start the season, the defense still suffered and Ryan, as a rookie took that team on his shoulders and carried them to the playoffs. Ryan and Flacco both met their end to the conference champions, the ravens went farther on the back of the defense while the falcons ultimately fell short because of the defense. But of course Flacco etched out two wins against Miami and Tennessee if that says anything.
The following year the falcons missed the playoffs after Matt Ryan was injured for several games while Flacco got the glory of beating the patriots in the playoffs on an off year. All that tells me is that without Matt Ryan, the Falcons didn’t produce nearly as well.
In 2010, Matt Ryan led the Falcons to a 13-3 season, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champions. Flacco seemed to ride his team to a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs if that says anything special for the Baltimore or Flacco.
In 2011, Atlanta lost a blow out to the eventual champs again while the Ravens were able to beat the Texans in their first playoff season.
In 2012, Matt Ryan had another career year nearly missing the Super Bowl by uncalled pass interference while Joe Flacco played lights out in the post season.
So yes, the Ravens are much more successful than Atlanta in the post season, but how much of that was all Flacco, and how much of that was a constantly great defense, a team with a running game that was always there and tough special teams? Ryan had less success in the playoffs while he was, a lot of times, the only reason they got the wins at all. If the Falcons got to play the type of teams that the ravens got to play in some of those playoff games, the “He only won one playoff game” argument wouldn’t even be existent. Now that the Falcons have a running game that could be more consistent than they have ever had since Dunn walked the field and while Mike Nolan is turning the defense into a top ranked machine, the future of the Falcons is very bright. Now that Matt Ryan has a complete team around him, one similar to what Flacco had around him for the past four or five years, I don’t think it will take long for people to stop arguing who is a better quarterback.
I believe Matt Ryan is clean and simple, after looking at what he has done with what he was given, the better quarterback.
What do you guys think?