Bomani Jones went on a Twitter rant Monday night of what had to be nearing 100 tweets swearing up and down why Matt Ryan does not belong in the Hall of Fame — he says all you have to do is completely ignore the numbers and his argument makes sense — but the one above is what started it all. Well buckle up, boys and girls, because we're going to explore exactly how many ways Jones is wrong.
It's quite likely there is no topic I'm more equipped to debate than why Matt Ryan is a Hall of Fame quarterback, because there are still football fans in 2020 who don't understand how numbers work — or in Jones's case, willfully ignore them to create a ruckus. I honestly can't decide if I think Jones believes what he's saying or not. He's so intellectually dishonest, it's hard to ever tell.
But let's start with the most obvious answer to all of this: if Kyle Shanahan doesn't completely lose his damn mind and the Falcons run the ball three times and kick a field goal at the end of Super Bowl LI, this conversation would have never been brought up again for the rest of Ryan's historic career. It would have been completely over in his ninth season in the NFL and the disgusted haters would have been forced to acknowledge the greatness of one of the best quarterbacks of a generation.
But that's obviously not what happened. The Falcons lost Super Bowl LI, and therefore people like me still have to show people like Jones how statistics work.
Let's just take a look at how many quarterbacks, through their first 12 seasons, have compiled at least 50,000 passing yards and 300 touchdowns. Those sound like reasonable numbers that guys like Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers would have accomplished, since they're so much better than Ryan.
Wow. I did not expect that. I would have been sure some of those guys I named or maybe somebody like Cam Newton or Donovan McNabb — both of whom Jones says he would rather have than Ryan — would have been able to do it. I guess not.
But maybe it's not fair to look at the overall body of somebody's work, because that excludes too many people who simply aren't as good. Let's take a look at a couple of Ryan's best seasons and see how many other quarterbacks have equaled those to get a better comparison. Surely some of these guys have had one season equal to Ryan's best.
Wait a minute, what? Ryan has done twice what no other quarterback in the history of the NFL has ever accomplished over the course of a season? But I was told there were so many quarterbacks who are better! Bomani Jones told me Ryan has never been a top five quarterback in the League, even despite the fact he has won an MVP!
Somebody help me understand!
And part of Jones's argument — when he's not willfully ignoring the stats of one of the best quarterbacks not only of this generation, but to ever play the game of football — is that the Pro Football Hall of Fame is extremely difficult to get into, which is true. But if Ryan is left out, then I don't know what the point of even having the Hall of Fame is. There is a debate as to whether Ryan will or should get in on his first ballot, but to leave him out of Canton would be a grave injustice.
But here's where this guy really just absolutely loses any credibility. Drew Brees is another Hall of Famer, so you can have that debate between him and Ryan. But this tweet is saying that Cam Newton has been a better quarterback than Matt Ryan, which is so preposterous I honestly don't even know how to begin to refute it. Newton had one really good season and just signed for $1 million to be a backup. Let me know when that happens to Ryan.
And when Jones says things like "no matter what the counting stats tell you," he is admitting that the evidence suggests contrary to his opinion, but you can't tell him he's wrong anyway. It's being willfully ignorant to evidence you don't like.
To those who understand the greatness of Matt Ryan: congratulations for being on the right side of history.