Hall of Fame voters already split on Matt Ryan’s candidacy

488151227 0775 Panthers at Falcons

Matt Ryan didn’t even finish his retirement speech at Flowery Branch before Falcons fans took to social media to voice their support for his Hall of Fame candidacy.

The 16-year veteran fielded questions about his chance to get into Canton, and Ryan obviously voiced his confidence in his body of work, but his resume is already bringing about split opinions among voters.

All quotes are from D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Ira Kaufman, Tampa Bay: “The more you dig into Ryan’s career, the more there is to like. His consistency and durability are worthy of Hall of Fame discussion and his postseason passer rating ranks No. 5 all-time. I’m not going to blame him for the Falcons squandering a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl during his MVP season, when he threw nine TD passes without a pick in the playoffs. Should be a lively discussion.”

Most Falcons fans have a similar argument as Kaufman. Matt Ryan’s resume resembles that of Hall of Fame quarterbacks in a lot of ways, which is what Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk pointed out.

“Matt Ryan checks many of the boxes you look for in a Hall of Famer. He played a long time — 15 years. He won a lot of games — 128, including the postseason. He won a league MVP award in 2016. He threw for a lot of yards, with his 62,792 ranking seventh all-time, and a lot of touchdowns, with his 381 ranking ninth all time. But only once was he an All-Pro, and he made the Pro Bowl only three times.

Ryan leads the Falcons in every major passing statistic. When you’re the best player in any franchise’s history, you probably deserve to have a bust in Canton. Ryan is also top 10 in a lot of NFL records, which is certainly notable.

The fact that he only made one All-Pro team and never made an All-Decade team is obviously working against Ryan. That’s what many detractors will say, “Ryan was never the top quarterback or even top 3 for a consistent period of time.” However, James Lofton of CBS Sports is completely off base, in my opinion.

“A little early to think about Matt. In line behind Rivers, Big Ben, E Manning maybe Cam, A Rod (and) Michael Vick and maybe a few more. The great passing era will lower the bar.”

There is one Hall of Famer in that quote — Aaron Rodgers, who will be of the first-ballot variety. Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning might be because of Super Bowl wins and team success, but they shouldn’t have gold jackets based on individual accolades. Phillips Rivers, Cam Newton and Michael Vick are certainly not Hall of Famers.

So, if any of those guys get in, Matt Ryan should surely be seriously considered, which is what Jason Cole said.

“If we put Eli Manning in, Matt Ryan compares pretty favorably in terms of stats and consistency. Same with Phillip Rivers.”

The Falcons great has a lot working against him with his company. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning are locks to make it to Canton, and Drew Brees probably is too, in my opinion. The rest of them either benefited from team success or an era of pass-happy offenses, which is what an unnamed selector pointed out. Voters will have to find different ways of assessing players’ resumes.

“I think he’s going to have a tough time. All of these QBs today have great “stats” because of the era they play in, with the rules set up for passing success. So, we have to find additional ways to evaluate them. I’m not saying Matt won’t ever get in, but it likely will be a wait. I hate saying that because I really like Matt as a person. But the Hall is supposed to be for the greats of the greats.”

I think both sides have an argument, and I find myself agreeing with both sides at times. This will be picked to death over the next decade, and I can’t wait to argue for and against it because I’m a contrarian.

Photographer: Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire

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