Atlanta Falcons placekicker Matt Bryant is being cut by the team, and that blade will run deep into the Falcons fanbase.
I was absolutely shocked when I saw the headlines and then the tweet from Falcons placekicker Matt Bryant. The words at the top of his tweet seemed surreal and unimaginable. I had to check my calendar to be sure it wasn’t April 1st.
“I was informed last night that the team was moving on from my services and that I would be released.”
Say it isn’t so, Money Matt! This can’t be how it ends.
But end it will, and it’s a sad day for the Atlanta Falcons and their fans. Don’t tell me I’m talking about someone who’s “just a kicker”, because Matt Bryant has always been more than that to this team and to this community.
If Matt Ryan is the heartbeat of the Atlanta Falcons, then Matt Bryant is the aorta carrying the blood from teammate to teammate, and fan to fan. He’s part of the fabric of this city, and his touching story and devotion to his family are part of why he’s so loved.
The stats speak for themselves. Bryant was incredible at his job. He saved the Falcons’ butts on numerous occasions and was the one guy who could make everyone in Atlanta put Morten Andersen in the past.
When Bryant took the field, everyone in Atlanta was on #TeamKicker
But it isn’t just his leg. It isn’t just his well-documented dry sense of humor. Matt Bryant is more than that to a team and a city who needed players to believe in. I can think of but one word to describe the Falcons soon-to-be legendary placekicker…
Bryant was always about the team, about his community, about his family. It was never about him, and he was never bigger than the moment (nor did he let the moment get too big for him). For 10 years, Matt Bryant was the Atlanta Falcons.
It’s a business, we get it, Mr. Blank. There’s a finite amount of money to go around in the salary cap, and not paying a 43-year-old kicker a premium price when there are bigger fish to land doesn’t seem like a tough choice.
But Jesus, it should be tough. For a guy with the character, talent, and loyalty of Matt Bryant, it should be the toughest choice this franchise has made in quite a long time. This cut is more than just a roster cut, it’s a cut deep into the fanbase who loved to see Bryant be their guy.
One day, quarterback Matt Ryan will retire, and he’ll likely be called by some as the “Greatest Atlanta Falcon of all time”, while others will continue to ridicule him as a “choke artist”. The fandom is split and always will be on Matty Ice.
But Money Matt? I’d be willing to guarantee you there isn’t a fan in Atlanta who won’t miss Matt Bryant, and who won’t wish he was the guy stepping on the turf the next time the game is on the line and a kicker’s leg will be the difference.