After the catastrophe that was the Atlanta Falcons 2007 season, featuring everyone from Joey Harrington to Byron Leftwich under center, and the fun surprise of Bobby Petrino leaving notes in players' lockers and then sneaking out of town to a head coaching job, and eventually a very young, blonde mistress, at Arkansas, and a 4-12 finish from a team that was statistically near the bottom of the league in most categories, quarterback Matt Ryan out of Boston College was selected third overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Meanwhile, in Baltimore, the Ravens didn't fare much better in 2007. The Ravens finished 5-11, and head coach Brian Billick was fired after the season. Quarterback Steve McNair was plagued with injuries all season, and backups Kyle Boller and rookie Troy Smith both got significant playing time, without much success. In the 2008 NFL Draft, Baltimore selected quarterback Joe Flacco out of the University of Delaware 18th overall.

These two quarterbacks will forever be linked because they share a draft year, and because they both took over struggling teams and led them to a quick turnaround. We all remember Matt Ryan setting the tone for his pro career with a touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins in the Georgia Dome in his very first NFL start against the Detroit Lions. The Falcons finished the 2008 season 11-5, with a wildcard playoff loss against the Arizona Cardinals. It was a big shift from the drama and failures of 2007, and the rest is history. With Matt Ryan, the Falcons have been established as perennial contenders. They have posted five consecutive winning seasons, and four playoff appearances in that timeframe, including a painfully narrow loss in the NFC Championship Game this season. Ryan has continued to improve each season, finishing near the top of the league among quarterbacks in most statistical categories in 2012.

And, with Flacco, the Ravens also finished with the season 11-5 with a wildcard playoff bid. Flacco led the team to victory in the wildcard and divisional rounds, losing to their division rivals, the PIttsburgh Steelers, in the AFC Championship Game. And, with Flacco, the Ravens have established a pattern of postseason success, including being named the MVP of Super Bowl XLVII following a 34-31 win against the San Francisco 49ers.