Ask any NFL fan to name the top quarterbacks in the league and you’ll likely receive a list
varying in order but likely including the same names.
That list would certainly contain Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Russell Wilson.
Those four quarterbacks, with a sampling of other passers, are probably the consensus top-tier
among a broad majority of those who follow the game.
Falcons fans know the caliber of player Matt Ryan is, but it’s not often Atlanta’s starting quarterback
ATLANTA FALCONS YEARBOOK 2019
is lumped into that top tier by the national media.
But should he be?
Well, if we’re objectively analyzing statistics of each quarterback over the past five seasons,
the answer is a resounding yes.
Sure, looking purely at black-and-white stats doesn’t necessarily tell the full picture. Garbage
time yards and touchdowns can blur the lines between a player’s on-paper greatness and
his effectiveness on the field, and indefinable qualities such as how “clutch” a quarterback is
won’t be reflected fully by numbers.
There’s also the matter of a team’s performance, which is most closely tied to its quarterback.
Fair or not, a quarterback’s reputation is partially colored by his team’s overall success – and
each of the four quarterbacks previously listed has won at least one Super Bowl.
Those wide-ranging qualifiers muddy the waters when it comes to judging a quarterback’s
ability, but this piece is meant to put all of that aside for a moment. Ultimately, a quarterback can
really only control himself, and by extension, his team’s offense.
So, let’s take a look at how Ryan’s total numbers over the past five seasons (since 2014) stack
up to those mentioned above during that same time frame.
By William McFadden, AtlantaFalcons.com