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Matt Ryan is the 21st century version of Dan Marino

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Quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Dan Marino are not two names you would usually hear together, but their careers are a lot more similar than you might think.

Both Ryan and Marino were taken in the first round of their respective drafts, with Ryan being selected 3rd overall to the Atlanta Falcons and Marino being selected 27th overall to the Miami Dolphins.

Marino would go on to spend his entire 16 season career with the Miami Dolphins while Matt Ryan has spent his first 12 with the Atlanta Falcons and is most likely to spend at least another two years there.


Stats wise they are similar. Even though Ryan has a better interception percentage, his being 2.2% and Marino’s being 3%, their touchdown percentage is similar with Ryan’s being 4.7% and Marino just above him at 5%.

Marino and Ryan also have a similar amount of fourth quarter comebacks with Ryan sitting on 30 and Marino on 33. However, when it comes to game winning drives Marino is a bit further ahead with 47 and Ryan on 38.


When Marino retired, he had the most passing yards in the history of the NFL with 61,361. Even though it is very unlikely that Matt Ryan will finish his career there he is currently siting in 10th all time with 51,186, and with the players above him either retired or approaching 40 years old it is very possible that Ryan could be a top five passer all time when he calls it a day.

MVP seasons

Despite not winning a Super Bowl both Ryan and Marino picked up an MVP (Most Valuable Player) award during their careers.

Marino won his MVP in the 1984 NFL season while Ryan won his in the 2016 NFL season.

In Marino’s MVP season he threw for 5,084 yards while throwing 48 touchdowns and 17 interceptions with a quarterback rating of 108.9. This is especially impressive because in the era that Marino played quarterbacks passed the ball a lot less.

With Ryan he threw for 4,944 Yards with 38 touchdowns and 7 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 117.1.


Both Marino and Ryan made it to the super bowl during their MVP years. However, both would come up short in the big game with Ryan losing a famous 34-28 in overtime to the New England Patriots and Dan Marino losing 38-16 against Joe Montana’s San Francisco 49ers.

In their seasons after their MVP years both Ryan and Marino had good years. Despite not getting back to the Super Bowl they both put up over 4,000 yards and both went back to the playoffs.


Throughout their careers both Dan Marino and Matt Ryan have been consistent passers. With Matt Ryan consistently staying between 4,000 and 4,500 passing yards and sometimes flirting with 5,000 yards and Marino staying between 3,500 and 4,500 with a 5,000-yard season.

Alongside this both quarterbacks were consistent winners as well both winning over 100 games in their careers with Ryan currently on 109 and Marino on 147.

Their legacy

As far as their legacies are concerned both quarterbacks will be remembered for one thing.

This is that they could not win the big game, the Super Bowl.

Even though this could be because of multiple factors that does not change the fact that they are both 0-1 when it comes to Super Bowls.

However, considering how consistent they were and have been, they are still great at what they do, and they are both just missing that one title that could elevate their legacy to the next level.

2 thoughts on “Matt Ryan is the 21st century version of Dan Marino”

  1. Ryan is a good QB but nowhere near as good as Marino. In comparing stats their MVP seasons were 30 years apart which elevates Marino’s performance massively when compared to today’s far easier passing friendly rules. You can’t compare stats being different eras. MVP year was 84, but in 86 Marino threw 44 touchdowns which was 19 ahead of his nearest rival. Ryan can’t touch him in comparison to peer performance

  2. Pingback: Flacco to Jets: Investing in backup quarterback trend continues

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