Atlanta Falcons: Has Matt Ryan proved that he is elite?


Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan is one of the best in the league. His numbers speak for themselves. Ryan has thrown for at least 4,100 yards each of his past four years with the team and is well on his way to that number in 2015.

Ryan, known by his nickname “Matty Ice” is also the first quarterback in NFL history to have 30 game-winning drives before their 10th season. Ryan is three games into his eighth season. Ryan has already led the team on three game-winning drives in the Falcons’ first three games and is currently second in the NFL in passing yards with 946.

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The one question that has surrounded Ryan in his career is whether or not the pro bowler is considered to be elite or not. My question to the readers are, what does it take in order to be considered elite? Super bowls? playoff appearances? Pro bowls? What is it?

When you think of an elite quarterback that is still in the NFL, who do you think of? Most people would think of a man by the name of Peyton Manning. Manning has done it all. He has a Super Bowl ring, multiple pro bowls and all kinds of records, but how different is he from Ryan?

Let’s compare their playoff records. Ryan’s record is 1-4 while Manning’s is 11-13. Let’s take a look at Manning’s first five playoff games. Manning lost his first three just like Ryan, but won his next two before losing in to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.

Manning went on to lose three out of his next four playoff games before winning four in a row to nap his one and only Super Bowl title. So, maybe you knew that, maybe you didn’t. Manning didn’t win a Super Bowl right off the bat, but was still considered to be an elite quarterback.

When people tell me that Ryan isn’t elite I laugh. The word elite holds no weight, yet everyone asks that one question, so here I am asking it. Is he elite? Well, according to the stat books he is. He is a quarterback that you cannot count at any part of the game, especially during crunch time.

So next time you hear someone throwing that word around, ask them what makes a quarterback elite. A lot goes into playing the hardest, most important position on the football field.