There is something I have been meaning to get off my chest for the past couple of weeks. I had to wait and make sure everything was trending in an upward direction, and it sure did. The Atlanta Falcons are going to the playoffs, and if they win their last game, they clinch a first-round bye. The coaching has been incredible, the defense has improved each and every week, the playmakers have made the plays, and the offensive line has fought their tails off. But one man in particular is having a season for the ages, and that is quarterback Matt Ryan.
While individual awards seem to be overrated at times, this year is an exception. This is the first time where I truly believe that Matt Ryan is not just the most valuable player for his team, but he is the MVP of the NFL. Ryan has truly been the leader of the Falcons, who currently stand at 10-5 with one game remaining. You ask, “why should Matt Ryan be MVP over guys like Tom Brady, Ezekiel Elliot, and Dak Prescott?” Well let me explain a little further.
Ryan is in the running against Brady, Elliot, and Prescott to win NFL MVP. First off, Prescott is nowhere near the caliber of an NFL MVP. He has been a solid quarterback in Dallas, but I am not even going to entertain that argument because it is absolute blasphemy. The guy toting the rock behind Prescott definitely deserves the praise he has gotten, as Ezekiel Elliot has rushed for 1,551 yards with 13 touchdowns. He has changed the outcome of the Cowboys season, such as in Week 10 against the Steelers when he put the game away with two late touchdowns. He is averaging 110 rushing yards a game on 22 carries a game, meaning he is getting about five yards each carry. But running behind one of the best offensive lines in NFL history downgrades his value because at the end of the day, any running back is probably hitting or near the 1000 yard mark behind those beasts.
The man who deserves all the recognition that he has gotten is Tom Brady. Brady might go down as the greatest quarterback in NFL history, and that is something I will not argue because he is everything any fan ever has wanted on their team. After missing the first four games, he has led the New England Patriots to a 10-1 record and once again clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs. Let’s take a closer look comparing Ryan and Brady on the most important numbers you look for in a quarterback.
|Matt Ryan||Tom Brady|
There are the numbers, and one argument Brady and Patriots fans will make is the quarterback was suspended for the first four games of the season. Are we supposed to care? Not in the slightest. Follow the rules, and you will be fine, if not, you suffer the consequences. No one is greater than the game of football, whether we are talking about Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, and anyone else.
Ryan has thrown for 34 touchdowns with only 7 interceptions this season. That is truly an exceptional statistic because Ryan has been known to turn the ball over from time-to-time. He is averaging 9.3 yards per pass, meaning every pass caught is near the first down marker. Another note to mention is Atlanta started the year facing the toughest schedule of any NFL team. Ryan has faced fierce competition all season, and he has incorporated other receivers not named Julio Jones into weapons on offense. Matt Ryan is the first quarterback in NFL history to throw a passing touchdown to 13 different receivers this season. That is an incredible feat, as he has made everyone on his team step up their game and it has paid off so far.
At the end of the day, barring any major setbacks come the last week of the season, Matt Ryan is the true MVP of the NFL. The numbers do not lie and the record does not lie. Ryan truly is in a category by himself this season, while Brady is the second best player. If Ezekiel Elliot somehow gets the award, I will be nauseous, as he has not had near the significant impact that Ryan and Brady have had. Atlanta is a city where we do not have many stars or MVP’s, and that is completely ok. Team awards are a lot better in the long run than individual awards. But Ryan has proved to himself and everyone else that he truly deserves to be called the 2016-2017 Most Valuable Player.