The Question of Matt Ryan Being an Elite Quarterback: Who cares?

By Michael Collins
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Ok really, enough of this term “elite” being thrown carelessly around when talking about quarterbacks, teams, skill position players, or grandmother’s fruit pies. It’s a meaningless, hot air-filled, ridiculous term that just needs to be tossed out like Lance Armstrong‘s yellow bracelets.

In regards to quarterbacks, there are some great ones, and there are some pretty good ones…and then a few who might resemble some sort of filth skimmed from the bottom of a pool. But if there’s an NFL quarterback out there who really cares if he’s considered to be one of the elite of the league, then I don’t want him on my team.

The argument, juvenile as it may be, has been raised in the national media time and time again as to whether or not Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is elite. Talking head on four-letter network says yes, but talking head on cable-time network says no. Then failed former QB talking head on network represented by a shield tries to compare his career to that of Ryan.

Give me one huge break already will you?

It really doesn’t make one iota’s difference whether Matt Ryan is an elite quarterback or not, and my guess would be that Matt Ryan could care less what any of these marionettes in bad suits and pocket squares say about him.

The bottom line is Matt Ryan is a winner. Matt Ryan made–and continues to make–the Falcons a better team. Unlike other QBs who still seem to have some unusual cult following in Atlanta, Matt Ryan shows up and gives his all in every game. In just five seasons, Matt Ryan has eclipsed nearly every record of the franchises beloved QB Steve Bartkowski, and those are records that have stood for decades.

Ryan has a career record of 57-25, including the postseason, and 34-6 when playing in the home confines of the Georgia Dome. The Falcons have reached the postseason four out of his five seasons with the team, including three straight from 2010-2012. Prior to 2008, the Falcons had never had two consecutive winning seasons. They have now had five straight.

Up the flagpole with elite.

Ryan is never going to be Tom Brady, or Peyton Manning, or even Drew Brees  (pardon me while I try to keep from gagging after writing that). The point is, Atlanta fans should be OK with that. They should be OK that Ryan is always going to do what’s best for the team and never try to play outside of his own abilities.

Contrary to what many of the Jedi Council of NFL analysts would have you believe, you don’t have to have an “elite” quarterback on your team to win the Super Bowl. If you don’t believe me, here’s a brief list of quarterbacks whose team managed to capture the Lombardi Trophy:

Trent Dilfer

Doug Williams

Brad Johnson

Jim McMahon

Jim Plunkett

Mark Rypien

It’s doubtful that even during the pinnacles of their respective careers that any of those gentleman would have been called elite. Most of them were good, a couple of them pedestrian, one of them serviceable at best. But somehow all of them managed to make it through four quarters of football on the biggest stage of all and help lead their team to victory.

If all of those guys can do it, I’d be willing to make a small wager that Matt Ryan can do it. Maybe this year…maybe not. But he’s got more than enough skill and more than enough heart to get the job done.

Is Matt Ryan elite? Who really cares.


Michael Collins is a Rant Sports NFL Network Manager, and Atlanta sports columnist. Follow him @GaSportsCraze on Twitter and here on Facebook


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