NFL MVP Matt Ryan has reached elite status, but new challenge awaits

Matt Ryan has never had much time for critics of his play over the course of his nine-year NFL career. He has the $100 million contract but entered the 2016 playoffs with only one career postseason victory. That didn’t exactly translate into elite status for a quarterback, but Ryan wasn’t getting caught up in labels.

“It’s never been about money,” the Atlanta Falcons star told ESPN.com before this season. “I’m not complaining. Money is just one of the things that comes along with it. With that comes added criticism, and there’s a certain expectation. What I need to do is do my job as best I can and not worry about what everyone else thinks about what you’re getting paid. … For me, the things that are important are the things that affect the outcome of games. That’s what I focus on.”

His mother, Galynn, has been dealing with an undisclosed illness, and it’s put a strain on the tight-knit Brady family. So if there was a picture that captured the essence of Brady’s emotions leading into Super Bowl LI, it was this.

The emotions peaked even higher as the confetti fell at NRG Stadium on Sunday night.
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Brady took the stage and raised the Lombardi Trophy and yelled, “Let’s go! Let’s go!”

“It’s going to be a great celebration tonight,” Brady said from the stage. “Thank-you to all of our fans. Everyone back in Boston, New England, we love you. You’ve been with us all year. We’re bringing this sucker home!”
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The verdict: Cheffers made the right decision. According to the rulebook, Cheffers has the option to call a timeout to “repair or replace game equipment, except player equipment.” Grade: A