Matt Ryan will be first 'No. 2' QB to start Super Bowl

For far too long, Matt Ryan has been overlooked as a legitimate star in this league. But who can blame those who deny the Falcons quarterback's greatness? We've never seen a QB who wears what he wears play at the level that he has played.

We're referring to Ryan's most recognizable onfield trait: His jersey number.

Per NFL Research, Ryan will become the first quarterback to start a Super Bowl while wearing a No. 2 jersey. The first of 102 eligible quarterbacks.

What?! There's never been a moderately successful gunslinger to rock the deuce? Why is there so much disrespect for the Two around the league?

For context, let's take a look back at the all-time great No. 2's.

There's Chicago Cardinals running back-quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer Charley Trippi, who was the first player to ever wear the number, per Pro Football Reference. Trippi wasn't around during the Super Bowl era, but was the first overall pick in the 1945 draft and is a member of the All-1940s team.

Then there are early-2000s gunslingers Aaron Brooks and Tim Couch, who both came out of the 1999 draft, the former in the fourth round, the latter first overall. They combined for two playoff game appearances. Of course.

Most No. 2's are specialists. The best in recent memory are undoubtedly former Bills kicker Steve Christie and former Eagles southpaw David Akers, but no one outside of kickers' family members revere those jerseys. 

Many fans still own JaMarcus Russell and Johnny Manziel kits, despite those No. 2's -- and former first-round busts -- falling out of the league within three years of entering it. 

Outside of football and sports all together, who could forget Dr. Evil's trusted, one-eyed assistant, Number Two, in the Austin Powers trilogy?

Right. So maybe there are slim pickings in the NFL history books of great No. 2's, but a legendary performance from Ryan this Sunday could vault the number into an era of newfound prosperity.

Can Ryan cement his place as the NFL's Derek Jeter?

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