The first post-season honor has been dolled out and Matt Ryan is the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. It should be of no surprise. The Atlanta Falcons are 11-5 and were competing in week 17, not for a wildcard birth but the division and the number 2 seed in the NFC. While they will go in as a wildcard, the remarkable turnaround of the Falcons ranks a close second to that of the Miami Dolphins.
It was only last year that their head coach walked out to go back to college. Unlike Nick Saban, Joe Petrino didn’t bother to wait until the season was over. Then, owner Arthur Blank found himself an ace in Bill Parcells. The media and the city were buzzed with anticipation of the announcement only to hear that Parcells’ had been lured to the Dolphins instead. Yet another black eye on the franchise.
Atlanta went with Mike Smith a relatively unknown coaching candidate and one who is considered to be the top candidate for NFL Head Coach of the Year. Their QB was in prison, their team was in shambles, and they were forced to draft a rookie QB at number 4 rather than focus on a defense that needed some help.
Matt Ryan came into the NFL with some question marks, as most QB’s often do. That didn’t stop him from thinking he could be a contributor. Foregoing the notion that rookie QB’s shouldn’t play right away, Atlanta had little choice. Matt Ryan didn’t dissappoint.
Ryan completed 61.1 percent of his passes for a little over 3,400 yards. He had 16 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. His game play and his leadership on the field helped raise those around him. The Falcons found a gem in RB Michael Turner who helped the offense move. Still, Matt Ryan was no slouch.
Much like Joe Flacco in Baltimore, the rookie played like a veteran. This award is no surprise and it is very deserving. Congratulations Matt Ryan.