But Ryan is the rare New England opponent who doesn't inspire hatred in the area, even as he prepares to face the Patriots in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
At Boston College, a guard shack displays a poster of "Matty Ice," the nickname Ryan picked up from his Eagles teammates for his ability to remain cool under pressure. In the athletic building, a case is filled with life-sized action shots of Ryan and some of the trophies he won : Johnny Unitas Award, Manning Award, Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year.
Around campus in the runup to the Super Bowl, they're telling stories about the humble but talented quarterback who was also a conscientious student and friend.
"He remembers people's names. He's polite to them. There's really no ego there that I've detected, but there's confidence," Cameron said. "He's just a really nice, caring guy. He's just got that 'It' factor."
A Philadelphia native who was under-recruited coming out of high school as an option quarterback who also played baseball and basketball, Ryan led Boston College to that No. 2 ranking and finished in the top 10 in Heisman Trophy voting. BC finished 11-3 and No. 10 in the nation, beating Michigan State in the Champs Sports Bowl.
But when the Falcons took Ryan third overall in the 2008 NFL draft, Cameron found himself spending hours online responding to comments on an Atlanta newspaper website from fans who were disappointed with the pick.
"I'm not too sure that Atlanta knew too much about Matt," Cameron said. "I must have responded to 100 of them. I just took it so personally. I must have typed 'Just wait. Just wait. Just wait' 100 times."
Despite growing up in Kentucky — a Bengals fan "I guess," he said — Cameron became a Patriots fan after living in the Boston area for more than a decade, but also maintained an allegiance to former BC Eagles in the NFL. (BC linebacker Luke Kuechly played in the Super Bowl last year for the Carolina Panthers.)
Asked about the mixed loyalties in his former stomping grounds, Ryan said in Atlanta last week, "None of my friends have mixed loyalties," emphasizing the word "my" and drawing a laugh from the assembled reporters.