MVP Matt Ryan vowed to move forward from the Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots last February, but an 18-second clip tied to the Atlanta Falcons quarterback's most gut-wrenching defeat serves as added fuel going into the 2017 season.
Ryan talked Tuesday about Gatorade's "Make Defeat Your Fuel" ad campaign he starred in alongside greats such as Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning and Serena Williams, among others.
The commercial ends with a staged moment of Ryan walking off the NFL's biggest stage and saying "Defeat," with cameras following his steps. The next scene depicts a fired-up Ryan back on the grind at the Falcons' practice facility, using the loss as fuel to take his game and his team to another level.
Ryan said having the ill feelings from blowing a 25-point lead in the 34-28 Super Bowl loss resurface during the commercial shoot didn't deter him one bit.
"I think for me, it's been about never letting go of that feeling and using that motivation moving forward," Ryan said. "Channeling that, I think, has been really important, but compartmentalizing it. Use it the right way. I think all of our team has done a good job of that. I feel like our guys have had the right focus. If you use it the right way and it drives you the right way -- I think our organization has done that -- I think it's really good."
Ryan explained how his segment of the commercial came to life.
"Four or five weeks after the Super Bowl, there were talks of a commercial like this happening," Ryan said. "I thought it was cool to be able to be a part of the 'Make Defeat Your Fuel' campaign. I always felt you learn more from your losses than you do from your wins. And I think it's a really good message for young people, older people, all types of different people. Everybody has stuff come up in their life that is not great. You learn from them and you use that as motivation moving forward. I thought that was a really good message and something that I thought would be really cool to be a part of."
Ryan said the filming in May took place all in one day, with none of his teammates involved. The quarterback appreciated being among the select group of athletes featured, particularly Jordan. Other active NFL players in the spot include J.J. Watt and Eli Manning.
"Well, I thought it was really cool," Ryan said. "I thought it was great to be a part of it with all the other great athletes that were in there. And to hear kind of about their stories and their spots was cool. I think everybody that's been an athlete at some point has that motivating factor. And a lot of times, it comes from defeat or a tough time.
"They also have some podcasts coming out -- the 'Secrets of Victory' podcasts -- so everybody kind of goes a little more in-depth about some of the situations that have created motivation for them."
While the folks from Gatorade were in town, they also put Ryan through testing via the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. It was the first time Ryan had ever experienced such testing. He learned that he sweats a lot more than he ever thought while working out in the hot Atlanta sun and that he needs to maintain the proper salt levels.
"Teaming up with the folks from GSSI was really important for me this offseason," Ryan said. "As you get further in your career, you're always working hard to find that 1 percent better, trying to find ways to improve. For me, if you can kind of get your nutrition and hydration dialed in just perfectly, it improves performance. That's scientifically proven. I'm excited about that. I think that's one of those things that can help me perform as I keep moving forward."