The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons square off Sunday night in the Super Bowl, and both starting quarterbacks have an opportunity to add to their respective legacies. Tom Brady is chasing a fifth Super Bowl title, which would be an NFL record for quarterbacks and further elevate his resume among the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.
It has been more than three years since Tom Brady and Matt Ryan squared off. The stakes are much higher than their 2013 regular season meeting (above). (Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Matt Ryan, who was crowned the regular season MVP Saturday night, is still trying to overcome his label of not delivering in the postseason in the eyes of many fans and talking heads. He lost first round playoff games in three of his first four seasons in the NFL and failed to have a passer rating of 75 in any of the games. But Ryan directed the NFL’s highest-scoring offense this year and has a chance to lead the Falcons to their first Super Bowl title in franchise history. A Falcons win would represent only the second ever major sports championship for the city of Atlanta with the Atlanta Braves 1995 World Series standing as the only title.
This year's Super Bowl teams have not met since a 30-23 New England victory in Atlanta in 2013, but Brady and Ryan have a history together (the Pats also won the one other meeting between the QBs in 2009). Brady and Ryan both talked this week about their relationship, which dates back to 2010 when the Pats and Falcons practiced against each other in training camp. “I’m always sending him texts over the course of the season and vice versa. I have a lot of respect for Matt. I like him a lot as a person, as a player, as a leader,” said Brady.
Here are the numbers you need to know about the starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl LI.
1: Brady had the highest sales of NFL licensed merchandise between March and November last year. Brady was tops for NFL jersey sales, college (Michigan) sales of men’s Nike jerseys and OYO toy figures. Ryan didn’t crack the top 50 overall.
3: Ryan was the third overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft. Brady was famously picked in the sixth round as the 199th pick in the 2000 draft and chosen after six other QBs.
6-foot-4: Both QBs are listed at the same height with Brady carrying eight more pounds at 225.
7: This is Brady’s seventh trip to the Super Bowl, a record for a quarterback. He’s won the Super Bowl MVP Award three times during his team’s four wins.
12: Pro Bowl selections for Brady. Ryan has been chosen four times.
13: Ryan threw touchdown passes to an NFL-record 13 different receivers this season.
14: Division titles for the Patriots with Brady under center, including 13 straight years (Brady missed the 2008 season when the Pats finished second).
15: Brady’s rank among the world’s highest-paid athletes with earnings of $44.1 million between June 2015 and June 2016. Ryan didn’t make the cut, but ranked No. 10 on the 2014 list after signing his latest Falcons’ deal.
24-9: Brady’s career playoff record. His 24 wins are eight more than second-ranked Joe Montana. Ryan's career playoff record is now 3-4 after two wins last month.
31: Ryan at 31 years old is eight years younger than Brady. Ryan said this week that he’d like to play as long as Brady. Brady has talked about playing until he is 45.
73%: Brady’s awareness level in the U.S., which is the highest among active NFL players, according to Nielsen Sports.
98.8: Ryan’s career playoff passer rating, fifth-highest all-time. Brady is No. 13 at 88.7
117.1: Ryan’s league-leading passer rating during the 2016 season. It was the fifth-highest all-time. Brady led the league twice during his career, including a 117.2 season in 2007.
$200: Cost of Brady’s cookbook/Nutritional Manuel released last year. It is currently sold out, but new orders are expected to ship later this month.
456: Career touchdown passes for Brady, fourth all-time. Ryan is No. 25 at 240.
-1000: Ryan was the overwhelming favorite to win the 2016 NFL regular season MVP Award with odds at 1/10. He was named MVP last night with 25 of the 50 votes by the media. Brady finished second with 10 votes. Brady won the award twice (2007, 2010).
$8 million: Brady’s estimated annual endorsement earnings from Under Armour, UGG Boots, Simmons Beautyrest and Tag Heuer.
$28 million: Signing bonus Brady received in a March 2016 contract extension. His base salary was cut from $9 million to $1 million, which saved Brady nearly $2 million in lost game checks when his four-game Deflategate suspension was upheld.
$103.8 million: Value of contract extension Ryan signed in 2013. He has two years left on the deal. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said this week he would look to extend Ryan again sooner rather than later.
$133.7 million: Ryan’s career earnings from the Falcons, according to Spotrac.
$196.2 million: Brady’s career NFL earnings, not including endorsements, rank second
among active players, behind only Eli Manning’s $205.8 million. Peyton Manning is the only player in NFL history to bank more than Brady and Eli.
$2.125 billion: Value of the Falcons. The club is in the middle of selling tickets, sponsorships and luxury suites for its new $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium set to open next season. A Super Bowl win would bolster those efforts.
$3.4 billion: Value of the Patriots, second highest in the NFL. The team was worth $460 million, ranked No. 5 in the NFL, before Brady was drafted.