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Behind the Jersey Number: Matt Ryan

One of the many great sights on NFL gamedays is watching countless Falcons fans fill the Georgia Dome and away stadiums, wearing the jersey of their favorite player, which got us to wondering if the players have a specific reason why they're wearing the number that is on the front and back of their jersey. Falcons QB Matt Ryan's reason dates back to grade school.

It wasn't long after Ryan was selected as the third-overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft that his No. 2 jersey began flying off the racks at local, regional and national sporting goods stores. After all, throwing a touchdown on his very first snap in an NFL game doesn't hurt, a 62-yard strike to former Falcons WR Michael Jenkins in the Week 1 game against Detroit on Sept. 7, 2008.

There's another tie-in from that game; Ryan entered the league wanting to wear jersey No. 12, the same number he wore during his brilliant career at Boston College, where he completed 807-of-1,347 passes for 9,313 yards and 56 touchdowns as the Eagles QB.

"At BC, they just gave me the No. 12," Ryan said. "I didn't get to choose it. I was going to wear No. 12 here, but Mike Jenkins had it and when they asked me what number I wanted to wear, I said I'd go back to No. 2, my high school number."

Ryan starred at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, Pa., earning All-Southeastern Pennsylvania accolades as a senior quarterback, throwing for more than 1,300 yards with 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

Quarterback Matt Ryan agreed to terms on a five-year extension Thursday, ensuring that his mark on the franchise and history books will continue. Take a look back at some of our favorite photos from Ryan's career.

"The reason I started wearing No. 2 in high school is (Kentucky Wildcats QB) Tim Couch, who was in college when I was like in 8th grade and I think I wore it in 8th grade for the first time," Ryan said. "He was the man; he was fun to watch. I wanted to wear No. 7, because of my uncle (John Loughery) wore it, when he played QB at BC (1979-82), but one of the older guys in high school had it, so I just chose No. 2."

While wearing No. 2 for the Falcons in 2014, Ryan continues to establish franchise records at a dizzying pace, including the single-game passing record (448 yards) in the Week 1 win against the Saints, completion percentage (87.5) and passer rating (155.9) in the Week 3 win against Tampa Bay, as well as extending his franchise record for most-career TD passes, following his three-TD performance in Week 4 against Minnesota (163).

The only jersey that could be deemed more appropriate for Ryan is to wear No. 1, but instead, he's more focused on working to get the Falcons to where they could collectively wear that title, more popularly known as the best team in the league.


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