Matt Ryan Opens Up About Super Bowl LI, the Falcons' Bright Future, and Keeping His Style Game Strong

How exactly did Matt Ryan bounce back from his devastating Super Bowl loss? Find out in Complex's exclusive interview with MVP quarterback.

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Image via Icon Sportswire / Getty

matt ryan lead image use

Matt Ryan has accomplished almost everything an NFL player can in his 10-year career. Rookie of the Year? Check. 4-time Pro Bowler? Check. League MVP? Check. Elite quarterback status? Check. 

Off the field, he hasn’t done too badly for himself either. A family man first and foremost, Matt Ryan has become an official style influencer for Banana Republic, putting points on the board for the brand’s Men’s Style Council (which features a stacked roster of Ryan, CJ McCollum, Kevin Love, and Didi Gregorius).


Most of us would be thrilled with such a string of success. But one achievement still eludes Ryan, and he won’t stop until he gets it. 

Ryan lost Super Bowl LI in heart-breaking fashion, and as any athlete or human being would do, he grieved. “I watched the Super Bowl many times,” Ryan admits. “It was part of coping with the loss.” Some may call it the highest form of self-inflicted torture, but Ryan—being the consummate professional he is—says the viewing sessions have helped him learn from the experience. “The loss lit a fire under me.” A fire that may just torch the rest of the league.

Ryan was the Most Valuable Player in 2016. He posted the fifth-highest single-season passer rating in NFL history, and his Falcons scored the seventh most points a team ever has during the season. Guess what? This year’s Falcons are even better. 


Atlanta returned their top-three rushers, entire offensive line, and five leading pass-catchers from last season. That includes all-universe wide receiver Julio Jones, who Ryan insists will “[catch] anything that I throw at him.” Jones, along with the dynamic Mohamed Sanu, are currently nursing injuries, but should return soon (with the former hitting the practice field this week). Even more alarming for the rest of the league is that the Falcons' front office was able to fortify their roster during the off-season. They added former Pro Bowl nose tackle Dontari Poe to the mix, and star cornerback Desmond Trufant has returned from the shoulder injury that kept him sidelined during last season’s playoffs. 

Those teammates would help any quarterback bounce back, but it doesn’t hurt that Ryan models himself after a player who did quite a bit of that in his own right. When asked who his favorite QB growing up was, Ryan chose the most resilient player to ever play that position, Brett Favre, who played through just about every physical and emotional injury a quarterback could experience. “Favre was always my favorite,” Ryan says. “I was a huge fan of his.”

At the rate Ryan (and the Falcons) are going, he’s poised to reach Brett Favre status. His Falcons have the second best record in the NFL (3-1), and they are the only team that has beaten the high-powered Green Bay Packers this season. The Falcons were close to unstoppable in 2016. If anything, the Super Bowl loss has only made Ryan and the birds stronger. 


So how has he bounced back so remarkably from the Super Bowl? Ryan took the offseason to get away from the game and pursue his off-field interests. Aside from traveling, hitting the links, and balling with buddy Matthew Stafford on their intramural basketball squad, he was recently enlisted to join Banana Republic's Men's Style Council, and absolutely raves about their performance pieces. “I really love the new line of pants called the Rapid Movement Chino. I kid you not, they are the most comfortable and stylish pair of pants I own. I have them in every color. And they’re really versatile—great for any occasion, day or night.”

Ryan’s interest in elevating his style game serves as a brilliant metaphor for his growth on the field. He is always looking to learn, improve, and evolve, and is more versatile than anyone gives him credit for. Just as he has proven that he can come back from hardship on the gridiron, he has shown he can thrive in unexpected areas off of it.  

The doubters will persist, as they always do. Bovada pegged Ryan as a 16-to-1 underdog to repeat as the NFL’s MVP before the season. But Ryan is hardly focused on Vegas projections. “I just go out there and play my game. I focus on the things I can control and how I can help the team win.” 


That attitude helped him take a 4-12 Falcons team to the playoffs; a playoff team to the NFC Championship Game; and an NFC runner up to the Super Bowl. He lost at each stage before breaking through, always growing, always evolving, and always (eventually) winning. 

Knowing Matt Ryan and his tendency to stand up taller than ever after getting knocked down, a Super Bowl victory might just be the next accomplishment he adds to his already impressive resume.

If you want to see some of Matt Ryan’s top Banana Republic picks, click here! 

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