Two Matts lead Falcons to big win

Published 5:17 am Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thank goodness for the two Matts.

That was my feelling immediately after Atlanta Falcons place kicker Matt Bryant connected on a 49-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining Sunday to give his team a 30-28 NFL playoff victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Atlanta.

With his team trailing 28-27, the Falcons’ other Matt— quarterback Matt Ryan—got the team in position for the winning field goal when he completed on two clutch passes, one to wide receiver Harry Douglas and another to future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez.

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Ryan—who, like Bryant, has come through in the clutch many times—has been given the nickname Matty Ice by Falcons fans.

In his post game press conference, Falcons head coach Mike Smith pointed out that the Falcons have two Matty Ice’s—Matt Ryan and Matt Bryant.

I have been a Falcons fan since they came into the National Fotball League as an expansion team in 1966 and have been frustrated many times through the years.

They suffered through their share of losing and non-playoff appearances during the early years.

Their first coach was the late Norb Hecker, who was an assistant on some of the late Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi’s great Green Bay Packers teams.

The Falcons’ most successful season to date came in 1998 when they played in Super Bowl XXXIII against the Denver Broncos in New Orleans.

The Broncos, who were quarterbacked by John Elway, won 34-19. The Falcons were coached by Americus, Ga., native Dan Reeves, who ironically was Elway’s former head coach in Denver.

The Falcons were quarterbacked that Super Bowl day by Chris Chandler, who was the son-in-law of former star San Francisco 49ers quarterback John Brody. Brody threw 214 touchdown passes in his 17-year career with the 49ers from 1957 to 1973.

The Falcons will attempt to earn their second Super Bowl berth Sunday when they host the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome.

I will be right there in front of my television cheering them on.