Matt Ryan gives emotional thank you to Falcons fans as he officially retires a Falcon

NFL: SEP 16 Panthers at Falcons

Somehow, Matt Ryan was one of the more polarizing athletes ever to represent the city of Atlanta. Many believe he should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Others could never accept that not only did he replace Michael Vick, one of the most beloved athletes in Atlanta history, but he also outperformed Vick at every turn. Those arguments still take place today sixteen years after the Falcons took Matt Ryan with the 3rd overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, and they will continue as we wait and see if he will indeed be enshrined in Canton for eternity.

What cannot be argued, however, is that Matt Ryan was the single most valuable player to ever represent the Atlanta Falcons. He’s the only player to win the Most Valuable Player award, which he received after a historic 2016 campaign, and owns every single relevant passing record in franchise history. Not only was Ryan the leader of the Falcons organization for well over a decade, but he was also a decorated member of the Atlanta community off the field.

Everything Matt Ryan did during his tenure with the Falcons, he did with class, knowing that he wasn’t just representing himself. He was representing an entire community of fans that, for the most part, embraced him from the moment his childhood dream became a reality, thanks to then-general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

Today, Matt Ryan officially held a press conference to announce his retirement as a member of the Atlanta Falcons organization, and he left fans with one last moment to remember him bye, thanking the entire organization as well as the fans, as he heads into the next stage of his life without football.

If you haven’t seen it yet, be prepared to hold back the waterworks.

I’m not sure how a true diehard Atlanta Falcons fan could have anything negative to say about Matt Ryan now that his career is over. The man left it all on the field each season in hopes of bringing the city its first Super Bowl.

We can talk about the failures and the ‘what ifs,’ most of which were to no fault of Ryan’s, but we can do so without taking away from everything he accomplished for the Falcons. This was an organization that was in total disarray following Michael Vick’s arrest and the swift departure of Bobby Petrino soon after. It would have taken most teams years to recover from that, but it only took the Falcons one because of Matt Ryan. He brought the Falcons to the playoffs as a rookie, which was just the start of the best run of football in franchise history.

This is a day and a man that is deserving of celebration. Thank you, Matt Ryan, for an unforgettable run. Here’s to hoping your second act is just as successful as the first one.

Photographer: Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire


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