Why Matt Ryan is 'thankful in a small way' for infamous 28-3 game

By , Audacy

If Matt Ryan had his way, he wouldn’t have to relive the Atlanta Falcons’ infamous Super Bowl meltdown.

But he’s found a way to at least spin it into a positive in some capacity.

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Playing in Super Bowl LI against the New England Patriots in February 2017, Ryan and the Falcons had a collapse for the ages, blowing a 28-3 third-quarter lead to eventually lose the title game. Patriots fans are happy to shoehorn 28-3 jokes into things any way they can, while it, understandably, lives in infamy for the Falcons.

But it’s been over five years now, and Ryan is embarking on a new chapter with the Indianapolis Colts. During an appearance Wednesday on the “Pat McAfee Show”, Ryan gave a pretty thoughtful answer about living with that missed chance.

"I think it’s always somewhere in there, right?" Ryan said. "I think it’s always somewhere in there and I don’t see that as a bad thing. Obviously, we would’ve loved for that game to have gone differently, there’s no doubt about it. But, it didn’t and there’s not s--t we can do about it now. And so if you don’t use that as a learning opportunity, as an opportunity to be better and to be better the next time you’re in it, then it’s wasted.

"It’s one of those scars that you accumulate throughout your life that’s wasted if you don’t learn from it. I do think it makes you harder, calloused. I think that’s good because I think that in order to win playoff games, in order to win championships, it takes a hard mindset, it takes a calloused team. And I think that as a result of going through that the last time, whenever hopefully we can get that opportunity, I think you have that calloused mindset of going in there and saying ‘No, no, it’s never over either way, and we’ve got to find a way to get the job done.' And I’m thankful in a small way for that. …

"I think there are things that happen in your life that get you to the point where you’re at, and I think they make you into the person you need to be to be ready for that next great opportunity, and I’m excited about that."

Now, Ryan -- who admitted he probably wouldn't have the strong competitive fire he still does today had that game gone differently -- will be under center for a Colts team that sure seems like it’s only a decent quarterback away from being a legitimate contender.

It would be weird to see him win a Super Bowl with a team other than Atlanta, but maybe he’ll find himself in a Matthew Stafford type of situation this season.

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