By: Teddy Bishop news services

Matt Ryan, who played quarterback for 15 years in the NFL—14 of them with the Atlanta Falcons—recently retired.

Ryan was drafted out of Boston College in 2008 (third overall pick)—just a year after Falcons All-pro QB Michael Vick was sent to prison on charges of sponsoring dog-fighting.

He endeared himself to Falcons fans immediately by leading the team to the playoffs, while being named 2008 Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Overall, the Falcons made the playoffs six times with Ryan at quarterback, a franchise record.

He led Atlanta to the NFC championship game against San Francisco following the 2012 season, but the Falcons blew the lead in that game, losing 28-24.

The most infamous playoff game, however, was Super Bowl LI, following the 2016 season. Atlanta blew a 28-3 halftime time against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, eventually losing 34-28.  (The Underworld Powers-That-Be were already adjusting thermostats in case it froze over.)

The only other quarterback to take the Falcons to the Super Bowl (XXXIII) is Chris Chandler, following the 1998 season. The Falcons lost, 34-19, to future Hall-of-Famer John Elway and the Denver Broncos.

Still, Ryan is the winningest quarterback in Falcons history, leading the Birds to 120 regular-season victories in his 14 seasons in Atlanta.

He also has the highest quarterback rating—94.2—in Atlanta history, completing 5,479 passes out of 8,354 attempts, a 65.6% completion rate.

Ryan threw for over 62,000 yards in his career, including 73 times for over 300 yards, franchise records. He threw 367 touchdown passes as an Atlanta Falcon, also a franchise record. Including the playoffs, Ryan played in 232 Falcon games, also a record for an Atlanta quarterback.

In addition to 2008 Offensive Player of the Year, Ryan was named the NFL Most Valuable Player for the 2016 season. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl four times.

The Falcons made the playoffs the year after Super Bowl LI’s debacle, but have had some rough times since.

Ryan was traded to the Indianapolis Colts following the 2021 season for a third-round pick.

The Colts released Ryan after the 2022 season.

With no offers on the table for 2023, Ryan worked as a broadcaster for CBS, and finally, officially, decided to call it a day.

Ryan signed a one-day contract with Atlanta so that he could retire as a Falcon, and issued a statement thanking Falcons fans for their support. “I’m honored to retire as a Falcon,” he said on social media.  “Through the highs and lows, I always felt your energy and passion.”

Matt and his wife Sarah have been married 13 years and still live in the Atlanta area, where they are very active in community work. They have three children.

Enjoy your retirement, Matt Ryan. You’ve earned it.