Matt Ryan has claimed an early victory over Tom Brady on Super Bowl weekend by being named the NFL's MVP last night in Houston.
The 31-year-old Atlanta Falcons quarterback, whowill lead his team against Brady's New England Patriots at NRG Stadium this evening, won his first Most Valuable Player award after a stellar 2016 campaign in which he led an offence that scored an average 33.8 points per game in the regular season.
That was the joint-seventh best average of all time for a Falcons team which then put up 80 points in two play-off games to reach the Super Bowl, with Ryan throwing seven touchdowns and completing over 70% of his passing attempts.
Ryan earned 25 votes and Brady came second with 10. The 39-year-old had an extraordinary season himself, having compiled a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 28 to two, yet his case was harmed by the fact he served a four-game suspension at the start of the year for 'deflategate'.
As well as the MVP gong, Ryan was named offensive player of the year while his offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan was awarded the assistant coach of the year.
The Dallas Cowboys' Jason Garrett won the coach of the year ahead of Patriots chief Bill Belichick and Miami Dolphins boss Adam Gase