The Atlanta Falcons named quarterback Matt Ryan as the team's nominee for the 2016 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. Ryan, in his ninth season is receiving this honor for the first time. The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes a player for his excellence on and off the field and is among the league's most prestigious awards.
"Matt has set the tone for our team in many ways; as a leader in the locker room, on the field and in our community. He helps us be the best team that we can be," Head Coach Dan Quinn comments on Ryan as the recipient of the Atlanta Falcons Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
Ryan has been extremely connected and dedicated to the Atlanta community since he was drafted in the first round in 2008. Upon his arrival in Atlanta, he has developed a strong and special bond with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
As Ryan grew in his career, on and off the field, he wanted to take it further than hospital visits and tickets and find a way to make a true, lasting impact on CHOA and its patients and families. Ryan began the "Matt Ryan Celebrity-Am Golf Tournament" and the Matt Ryan "Dinner for Two with #2" to raise funds for CHOA. Over the past six years, these two events alone have generated close to $1 million dollars.
CHOA manages more than 870,000 patient visits annually at three hospitals and 27 neighborhood locations, Children's is the largest healthcare provider for children in Georgia and one of the largest pediatric clinical care providers in the country. Children's offers access to more than 60 pediatric specialties and programs and is ranked among the top children's in the country.
In addition to Ryan's personal endeavors and contributions to CHOA, he also finds time to take part in team charitable initiatives as well. Ryan has taken part in the NFL matching grant program for local Atlanta schools; contributing to North Clayton, Pope and Henry W. Grady high schools. He is also a strong partner with Make-A-Wish Foundation, granting many wishes to "meet Matt Ryan" where he goes above and beyond in making their wish come true.
Currently, Ryan ranks second in the NFL in passing yards (3,813 yards) and third in passing touchdowns (27). His current passer rating is second in the NFL (112.3) and his completion percentage is fourth in the NFL (68.6%). He has thrown for 200+ yards in 51 consecutive games, which is an all-time NFL record, surpassing Dan Fouts' 45 game streak. He was the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September.
"This really means a lot; to be compared to someone like Walter Payton, because of what he stood for and what kind of person he was both on and off the field. And also to be grouped with the great list of players and men that have won in the past. I'm very proud of the impact we've made on the community here in Atlanta, I'm very proud of what I've done on the field and it is an honor to even be considered for this recognition," Matt Ryan comments on winning the Atlanta Falcons Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.