The company Matt Ryan now keeps, locally, is the shortest of Short Lists. It’s time to declare:
Matt Ryan is the greatest Atlanta Falcon ever.
By the early 2000s we started talking the same thing re: Chipper Jones being in the discussion as the greatest Atlanta Brave ever. By 2002-ish, 2003, Chipper – already with an MVP and championship in tow – all we’d say about him was “Chipper, Glavine, Murph, Niekro and Aaron, wow, Chipper is RIGHT THERE with all those guys!”
The mountain to be the Greatest Atlanta Brave ever was WAY steeper, Hall of Famers, two-time MVPs, 300-game winners, possibly the best player in Major League history with Aaron, and the takeaway was “Hey, we’re having a conversation about Chipper being in that mix, that’s a heck of window into how great he’s been.”
Then by about 2006 or 2007, certainly by the next season when he was still hitting above .400 in the middle of June!!! we all knew Chipper had become The Guy.
It’s not nearly the same caliber of Rolodex when it comes to the guys you have to first be included with, and then pass, to be Greatest Falcon Ever. Same with ‘Nique and the Hawks. But it doesn’t mean the individual is any less great and Ryan is 100% there as the best player in franchise history.
Win a Super Bowl this season? Ryan becomes the greatest pro athlete in our city’s history.
(Evander don’t count, neither does Bobby Jones <he never turned pro, anyway>). Professional team sports, Ryan would be it.