One night before he plays the most important game of his life, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback was named the 2016 Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year at Saturday's NFL Honors. Later that night, he was named the NFL's MVP.
In 2016, Ryan averaged the highest yards-per-attempt of any quarterback with 400-plus attempts in league history (9.26). The Falcons QB posted just the fourth season with 300-plus passing yards per game and a passer rating higher than 115, joining future Hall of Famers Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Super Bowl counterpart Tom Brady. In leading the Falcons to just their second Super Bowl appearance, Ryan showed marked improvement, averaging nearly 50 more passing yards per game in 2016 than he had in his career.
Coming off a disappointing 2015, Ryan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan made amends in the offseason and crafted unstoppable offensive game plans every week. Ryan cut down on his turnovers, throwing single-digit interceptions for the first time since 2012. He threw a career-high 38 touchdowns to 13 different receivers, distributing the ball to All-Pro Julio Jones and low-key free-agent pickup Taylor Gabriel in equal measure.
This is Ryan's first NFL award since being named Rookie of the Year in 2008. Hopefully, it won't be his last.