INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan will have to relive a painful memory even while marking one of his greatest milestones.
The ball Ryan used to surpass 60,000 career passing yards on Sunday against the Houston Texans was put on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, this week.
But there’s an unfortunate coincidence: The serial number on the ball was “283,” a number that is quite reminiscent to the 28-3 number for which Ryan and his former team, the Atlanta Falcons, are infamous. Atlanta led the New England Patriots 28-3 in the third quarter of Super Bowl LI before the Patriots pulled off a comeback for the ages and won 34-28.
Ryan was blissfully unaware until he was approached in the locker room on Friday. “I had no idea,” he said. “I never even look at the serial number.”
The Colts, like all teams, prepare numerous footballs for each game and rotate them into the action throughout. As a result, the ball Ryan used to surpass 60,000 yards was completely random, a team spokesman said. The ball was immediately taken out of rotation and set aside before being sent to the Hall of Fame earlier this week.
Ryan became just the eighth quarterback to reach 60,000 passing yards. He is the second fastest to reach the mark (223 games), behind only Drew Brees (215 games).
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