(This post is being written at halftime of Super Bowl LI, with Matt Ryan’s Falcons leading the Patriots 21-3. What could go wrong?)
In the wake of the Falcons complete and total destruction of the Patriots to capture the city’s first Super Bowl championship, it’s worth looking back at how Matt Ryan came to be a Falcon. Drafted fourth overall in 2008, Ryan was masterful in the victory last night, spreading the ball around and playing more composed football than Tom Brady on the sport’s biggest stage.
But according to Ian Rapoport, Ryan was almost never a Falcon to begin with; rather, the Ravens were prepared to give up quite a bit for him:
It’s well-known that the Ravens talked with the Rams about trading up so they could draft Matt Ryan in 2008. Sources explained this week how close the two teams got toward making the deal.
The Ravens offered their entire draft for the rights to pick Ryan, sources said, going from No. 8 to No. 2. The trade nearly happened, but the Rams asked for more. They also wanted Baltimore’s second-round pick from 2009 to clinch the deal.
At that point, cooler heads prevailed, and there was no deal.
Think of how different things could be! We could have been having the “Is Matt Ryan an elite QB?” debate this whole time! But now that question has been answered, after Ryan led an offensive juggernaut to the promised land last night in Houston.
The Ravens history may have changed considerably. Obviously they would have had Matt Ryan instead of Joe Flacco, but they also wouldn’t have had a pick with which to draft Ray Rice (and his impending domestic violence charges) in 2008, nor other vital assets to help stock what was a perennial contender in the following years. (Including their own Super Bowl win in 2013.)
But most importantly today, it’s possible the Falcons wouldn’t have played the nearly flawless game they did last night, with Matt Ryan leading the way and not letting up at all in the second half. That was truly one of the most memorable performances in Super Bowl history.
Sure, it was possible that the Patriots could have come out in the second half and forced a few turnovers, getting right back into the game and finishing off a comeback with a patented Tom Brady touchdown drive to win.
But that’s just a crazy “what if?” hypothetical, much like the original trade proposal between the Ravens and the Rams.
Good thing everything worked out like it did! No one likes to look silly in retrospect.
(Editor’s note: sigh. Well, congrats to the Patriots)