Top 50 Falcons: No. 7, Matt Ryan

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is counting down the Top 50 players in Atlanta Falcons history during the franchise’s 50th anniversary season. No. 7 is quarterback Matt Ryan.

Years played for Falcons: Drafted third overall in 2008, Matt Ryan has quickly become the face of the franchise and holds nearly every passing record in Atlanta Falcon history. His first pass ever thrown in a regular season NFL game set the tone for the rest of his career. Ryan struck with a 62-yard bomb to Michael Jenkins for the first of his record breaking 199 career touchdown passes. Ryan is now in year No. 8 in Atlanta and is the unquestioned leader of the locker room.

Jersey No.: 2

In 2013, Matt Ryan signed what was at the time the second-highest player in the league. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

His impact on the team: Matt Ryan is the winningest Atlanta quarterback of all-time (73 wins), all-time leader in passing yards (32,117), touchdowns (199), completions (2,868), fourth quarter comebacks (24) and game-winning drives (31). He immediately lifted the Falcons from the doldrums after Michael Vick’s suspension and the dark days of Joey Harrington. In 2008 as a rookie, he led Atlanta to an 11-5 record and a playoff appearance. From 2010-12, he orchestrated the Falcons first-ever back-to-back playoff berths by making three straight trips to the postseason including two division championships. He helped lead Roddy White into becoming the franchise’s all-time leading pass catcher and has played a major part in the development of Julio Jones. In July 2013, he signed a five-year, $103.75 million contract, making him the second-highest player in the league at that time behind Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

On setting franchise records: “No one has more respect for Steve Bartkowski than I do and what he did for this organization. He’s become a great friend since I’ve been here in Atlanta and a great mentor. I’m very proud to be in good company. It’s really a great honor.” (AJC)

On signing long-term: “My goal, and my mindset has been the same since 2008. It's about winning a championship. And it's about getting rings. I'm just happy I'm gonna have the opportunity to do that here.” (

The countdown to the Top 50 players in Falcons history runs through the end of the season.

Top 50 Falcons Countdown

50: Chuck Smith

49: Michael Haynes

48: Jonathan Babineaux

47: John Zook

46: Ken Reaves

45: Lynn Cain

44: Justin Blalock

43: Bobby Butler

42: Tim Mazzetti

41: Buddy Curry

40: Scott Case

39: Jeff Merrow

38: Elbert Shelley

37: Matt Bryant

36: Alge Crumpler

35: Michael Turner

34: Ray Buchanan

33: Chris Hinton

32: Terance Mathis

31: Devin Hester

30: Don Smith

29: Greg Brezina

28: Chris Miller

27: John James

26: Bob Whitfield

25: Rolland Lawrence

24: Alfred Jenkins

23: Billy Johnson

22: Chris Chandler

21: Morten Andersen

20: John Abraham

19: George Kunz

18: Jamal Anderson

17: Keith Brooking

16: R.C. Thielemann

15: Tony Gonzalez

14: Andre Rison

13: Julio Jones

12: Roddy White

11: Steve Bartkowski

10: Michael Vick

9: Bill Fralic

8: Gerald Riggs

7: Matt Ryan

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