Matt Ryan was completely absent from this year’s edition of the NFL Network Top 100 players list, and no one seems to know why.
It’s a fun unveiling every year. The NFL Network releases, bit by bit, their Top 100 Players in the NFL list as voted on by the players, and it’s always great fodder for debate and bragging rights.
Unless you’re Matt Ryan.
The Falcons quarterback was somehow completely omitted from this year’s list, and judging by some of the other names on the list it seems as though the other players in the NFL have developed some cabin fever from the lockdowns.
This is just the latest in a long string of either intended or unintended slights towards Ryan, who probably isn’t giving this list a second thought.
Anyone who knows Matt Ryan or who has spoken to Matt Ryan knows he’s not about individual accomplishments. He didn’t care about the league MVP award in 2016, all he cared about was the team’s meltdown in Super Bowl LI.
But be certain, fans care. Atlanta fans care about their quarterback and, quite frankly, they’re getting a bit tired of the low-key, passive-aggressive shade constantly thrown his way.
If in 2020, after the career he’s had, you honestly don’t believe Matt Ryan is one of the 100 best players in the league, you aren’t watching very closely. But when you place names like Josh Allen on the list — a guy with some promise but nowhere near proven at this point — you have to begin to question your choices.
Even if you felt he wasn’t worthy of the top 95 players, it’s pretty much agreed upon by those in NFL circles that Matt Ryan is a better player than Chris Carson, Budda Baker, Brandon Brooks, Darren Waller, and Lavonte David (Nos. 96-100).
This would be the spot where Ryan’s statistics and accomplishments would normally be rattled off, but that’s been done over, and over, and over again. Yet, Ryan is overlooked.
Is he a top ten player right now? Probably not. Like the Falcons, Ryan didn’t have his greatest season in 2019, and while much of the team’s struggles were out of his control, that’s something to take into consideration.
But even in an off-year, Ryan finished fifth in passing yards, ninth in completion percentage, ninth in touchdown passes, and threw fewer interceptions than Kyle Allen, Jared Goff, Philip Rivers, Baker Mayfield, and Jameis Winston.
That should solidly land Ryan in at least the top ten quarterbacks from last season, and if you’re one of the ten best starting QBs in the league, you’d damn well better be one of the top 100 players in the league.
Other quarterbacks who made this year’s list and who can’t hold a candle to Ryan: Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, Ryan Tannehill, and Kirk Cousins.
Matt Ryan is not only a Top 100 player, he’s much more.
Everyone has heard the arguments about Ryan’s status as “elite”.
Never won a Super Bowl.
Can’t win the big games.
Tightens up in the postseason.
Throws interceptions at bad times.
(Did that just sound like a rundown of the beloved Tony Romo’s career?)
Let’s be clear on this point. Matt Ryan absolutely is one of the 100 top players in the NFL right now, regardless of what the other players around the NFL would like to believe. His teammates and fans have had to develop a thick skin when it comes to the lack of respect their quarterback gets.
He is, hands down, the greatest quarterback in Atlanta Falcons history. He’s going to finish his career as one of the best to ever play the game. And, if all goes well here in his remaining seasons, he’ll likely get the call to Canton.
And when Matt Ryan is standing there in his gold jacket, giving his acceptance speech and reminiscing how he slew some personal demons by winning a Super Bowl with Atlanta and avenging the crushing defeat in Super Bowl LI, we can only hope some of the players who voted on and compiled this year’s list are sitting in the audience.
They’ll not remember that they didn’t vote Matt Ryan as one of the best players in the league in 2020, but he will … and he’ll never say a word about it.