Athletes know that playing a sport is a family affair— Just look to the Mannings or the Williams sisters for proof. Parents drive their kids to practice, kids teach younger siblings how to play the sport they take on as their own and families either come together to root for the same team or go up against one another as fans of rivaling teams. For Matt Ryan, playing against his family at a professional level is an average day in the life.
After graduating from the William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Ryan headed to Boston College where he played football. Ultimately, he headed to the NFL draft and landed with the Atlanta Falcons. Fast forward ten years—his cousin, Mike McGlinchey, who graduated from the same high school went on to play for an NFL team of his own—the San Francisco 49ers. This year is the first year the two will go face-to-face.
Both cousins play on the offensive line--Ryan the starting quarterback and McGlinchey an offensive tackle. Even though they won’t see each other on the field, it is going to be a great day for family and friends to experience. Clearly, the two come from a high-achieving and athletically gifted family, so playing a game together out in California might just be like the childhood games they used to play—just with higher stakes.
Some people might say that this could present a road-block for one side or another. Facing family in a competitive sense is not always easy. Someone’s feelings will inevitably get hurt, but for Matt Ryan and his cousin this is going to be a special gameday, one where family will come together and root for the Falcons and 49ers. Equally.