Matt Ryan is an American professional athlete and a National Football League (NFL) player who began his pro career with the Atlanta Falcons after the team selected him in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft. From his high school days to the NFL, Matt Ryan has been all about football. He has up to thirteen awards and has created several records including the fewest interceptions in a regular season by starting quarterback in 2016. He was also named the only quarterback in NFL history to throw a touchdown to 13 different receivers in a single season, as well as NFL’s Most Valuable Player.
Named Matthew Thomas Ryan at birth – May 17, 1985 – and nicknamed “Matty Ice,” the quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons is an alumnus of William Penn Charter School, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he excelled in baseball, basketball, and football. Ryan played as a pitcher and a shortstop on the baseball team; small forward on the basketball team, and quarterback of the football team in 2002, and he was captain of all three teams as a senior.
The three-time All-League selection captured All-Southeastern Pennsylvania accolades as a senior quarterback in addition to receiving the second-team recognition in 2001 and All-City first-team honors in 2002. His athletic prowess gained him multiple scholarships offers from Unversity football teams, but he chose Boston College and graduated in 2007.
He played four seasons in college, starting out in 2003 as the starting quarterback and was redshirted in his first year with the team. He finished his college career with multiple awards and accolades including MPC Computers Bowl MVP (2005), First-team All-ACC selection (2006), Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (2007), etc. Ryan was selected to play in the 2008 Senior Bow and was the second first-round pick of the 2008 NFL Draft.
Matt Ryan’s NFL Career
He debuted his pro game on the regular season opener against the Detroit Lions as the quarterback on September 7, 2008, in so doing he became the first rookie quarterback to start a season for the Falcons since 2001. He finished the game to become the first quarterback to throw a touchdown on his first career NFL pass since 2000.
In all the 16 games played in 2008 season, Ryan recorded 17 touchdowns (one rushing), 11 interceptions, and 3,440 passing yards, making him the first rookie quarterback in Falcons franchise history to throw for over 3,000 yards in one season. By the end of the season, he was voted as the Offensive Captain by his teammates and entered the 2009 season as the Falcons starting quarterback.
In Week 12 of that season, he sustained a turf toe injury during the game against Tampa Bay, that kept him out of play for two weeks which saw the Falcons suffer losses in the two games they played against the Philadelphia Eagles and the New Orleans Saints. He returned in Week 15 partially recovered from injury to led the team to a 10–7 knockout win against the New York Jets, followed by another 31–3 victory over the Buffalo Bills in Week 16. For the first time in franchise history, the Falcons attained back to back wins with a record of 9–7.
In all the seasons of his NFL career, Matt Ryan is the only football player in history to throw for more yards (41,796) in his first decade in the league (2008-2018). On Pro Football Focus, PFF rating, he became the only quarterback who has earned a PFF grade of 87 or higher in each of the past 4 seasons. From 2008 to 2018, he recorded a total of 274 touchdowns, throwing for 43,751 yards, 128 interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 94.2 in 164 games played. He is ranked the fifth quarterback with most consecutive regular-season NFL game starts (137).
Despite never having played a professional game, Matt Ryan’s first six-year contract as a professional NFL player, on May 20, 2008, was worth $72 million with $34.75 million in guaranteed money, making him the fourth highest paid quarterback in the NFL.
Ryan was practically earning more than $33 million in salary per year – an amount that fueled the discussion on whether salaries of first-round draftees in the NFL were too high. This does not include his signed endorsement deals with AirTran and Nike.
Family – Wife, Twins
Matt Ryan was born into a Roman Catholic family of Irish descent as the third among four siblings of his parents, Bernice Loughery and Michael Ryan. His career path is partly influenced by some members of his family as one of his uncles, John Loughery and cousin Mike McGlinchey also played football.
He got married to his wife, Sarah Marshall in 2011. The couple met in 2003 in a weight room while they were freshmen as well as athletes in Boston College. Sarah was a standout basketball player who won two state titles with McAuley before moving on to play point guard in college.
They dated for a couple of years, then got engaged in 2010 before tying the knot the following year. On April 8, 2018, the Ryans welcomed the twins, Marshall and John into the world and shared the good news on social media.
At a height of 6ft 3 in (1.93 m) and a weight of 217 kg, Matt Ryan is fit for all sports including golf and has participated in the American Century Celebrity Golf Classic.