With his trade to the Indianapolis Colts, Matt Ryan will become the fourth former MVP quarterback in the last decade to join a new team.
When signal callers changed organizations 20 or more years ago, it usually meant the quarterback was too “over the hill” to still compete. But that’s changed.
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, who are two of the previous three ex-NFL MVP winning quarterbacks to switch organizations since 2012, both won Super Bowls with their second team.
“In the back of my mind, that’s what I’m thinking about right now is this opportunity that I have for the rest of my career to try and catch that spark and go,” Ryan said in his Colts introductory press conference on March 22. “I’m coming into a build that’s been set up extremely well and a roster that has been set up to win. They’ve done a great job of putting that together.
“I’m so fired up to get to work and be able to get on the field with these guys and try to do my part to help this team win as many games as we can.”
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Ryan Only Wanted to Leave Atlanta for Indianapolis
Ryan did not dive too deeply into the specifics of what happened during the first week of free agency when the Atlanta Falcons attempted to trade for quarterback Deshaun Watson. But Ryan did say leaving Atlanta was not something he was considering at the beginning of March.
“It was not [my decision initially to leave] … I had been there [Atlanta], loved every minute of it, there’s no question about it and worked really hard to try and do everything I could do to help them win,” Ryan said. “And at the same time, understood, whether it was this year, next year or whenever, there might be a time that something different happens.”
Once the Falcons began exploring other quarterback options, specifically Watson, Ryan said he looked into what other teams he might be interested in joining.
He clearly stated only one came to mind.
“As I looked into it, I knew there was only one spot that I wanted to go. There was no doubt that if I were to make a move, [Indianapolis] is exactly where I wanted to be.”
When the Falcons were unable to land Watson in a trade, Ryan did have the opportunity to choose — stay in Atlanta or leave for Indianapolis. He says a meeting with the Colts brass convinced him he was ready for something different.
“Ultimately, it came down to a decision between either staying in Atlanta or coming here to Indianapolis,” Ryan said. “What sold me, I was able to have a meeting with Chris Ballard, Frank [Reich], Marcus Brady, Parks Frazier, all those guys on Saturday night.
“I just knew with the roster that they talked about, their belief in the players they have here, the belief in the way they do things, the time was just right for me.”
Despite Atlanta’s controversial decision to try and replace him while he still had two years remaining on his contract, Ryan was nothing but cordial when speaking about Falcons owner Arthur Blank and the entire Atlanta organization during his Colts introductory press conference.
Ryan Chasing NFL History
With two very good seasons with the Colts, Ryan will jump into the top five in NFL history in yards and completions and move into sixth on the touchdown passes list.
But Ryan and the Colts are chasing more important history than individual quarterback stats.
Only four quarterbacks in NFL history have started a Super Bowl for two different teams — Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner and Craig Morton. Brady and Manning are the only two signal callers who have won Super Bowls while starting for multiple teams.
Thanks to Brady and the New England Patriots, Ryan and the Falcons didn’t win Super Bowl LI. Therefore, Ryan won’t be able to join the very exclusive list with only Brady and Manning. But he can became just the fifth quarterback to make a Super Bowl starting for two teams.
The Colts last advanced to the Super Bowl with Manning during the 2009 season.