ATLANTA - What must be going through the mind of Matt Ryan. He is a Super Bowl win away from NFL immortality, probably MVP award as well.
Falcons fans have seen "Mattie Ice" week after week on the field this season, but the quarterback said it took a long time to get to where he is now.
"Oh, man. He is not that good," said Ryan. "Tall, skinny, slow..."
It's true. At William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, the self-described tall, slow quarterback got his start. He showed this past Sunday that he still has his youthful wheels, but that was his first rushing touchdown in four seasons.
Believe it or not, in high school Ryan was a run first QB.
"We ran the triple option when I was in high school, so yeah, I wasn't that difficult to defend in that system," said Ryan.
"He didn't quite know he was going to play in the NFL. I didn't know he was going to play in the NFL in high school. I really thought he was going to play at a really high level college, and have a very, very good career, but I could never, never predicted that Matt would be where he is today," said Brian McCloskey, Ryan's High School Coach.
The man you see on the practice field is obviously different, but the man you hear, that is very much the same. The voice, the demeanor, the "Mattie Ice" personality has always been there.
"He always showed the leadership. He was quiet about it, never pushy, in your face about it. He had a lot of friends. Center of a group, but without being a clown, or... I really think he lead by example," said Beth Glascott, Ryan's science teacher.
"Matt Ryan is an example of a kid that was a captain of three sports, excelled in all three, did all three, he committed to all three sports all four years," said McCloskey.
"I certainly come a long way. You know, you could ask 60 guys in our locker room the same question and I'm sure everybody, they come a long way since their senior year in high school, but I am certainly happy where we're at right now," said Ryan.
Ryan sure has some of that guy from Penn Charter School, tall and skinny maybe, a calm leader pushing his team to new heights, definitely.