© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
When Kyle Shanahan was conducting pre-draft meetings in 2018, he knew someone in that draft class was a cousin of Matt Ryan. He did not, however, know who it was. But when he met the gregarious, poised Mike McGlinchey, he felt an eerily similar vibe to that of his former quarterback.
“When I went to Indy, I’m not ready yet, I’m just soaking it all in, but I knew he had a cousin and McGlinchey came in and I didn’t know it was him,” Shanahan said. “Just the way he came in and introduced himself to everyone in the room, the way he sat down and talked, right then I was like ‘Man, this guy reminds me of Matt Ryan.’ Then I looked down at my notes that we get from everyone and it says it’s his cousin.”
The similarities are most evident in their dispositions. Both know how to strike an intelligent balance between straightforward answers and humor, coming off like well-polished executives.
“They’re almost like the same guy,” Shanahan said. “I always joke with [McGlinchey], they’re both CEOs. Right when they walk in a room they know everyone’s name, they know how to handle themselves. They are very similar to me. They come from good families, they’ve been raised the right way and they both love football. They are both extremely intense.”
Ryan’s mother, Bernie, is the older sister of McGlinchey’s mother, Janet (their maiden names are Lockery).
Both Ryan and McGlinchey grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where they attended William Penn Charter High School. Nine years apart in age McGlinchey (age 25) said he recalls when Ryan (age 34) committed to Boston College.
As a third- or fourth-grader, McGlinchey said he and his family frequently made the trek up to Boston for Ryan’s home games. From as early as he can remember, McGlinchey said he modeled himself after Ryan.
“I know that when I was a kid, all I ever did was try to be like Matt in every way that I could in football and the way that he is,” McGlinchey said. “I would watch his interviews, I would watch everything about Matt and I don’t know, maybe I just kind of adopted the way that he did things because he always did it the right way and it’s pretty easy to learn from a guy like him and how well he’s done… I just remember being a kid just wishing I could be a part of it and, you know, 10, 15 years later, here we are.”
As Ryan’s Falcons have sputtered this season (though they’ve won three of their last five) and McGlinchey and Shanahan’s 49ers have re-taken hold over the NFC with an 11-2 record, Ryan has frequently reached out.
“He’s definitely kept in contact all year,” McGlinchey said. “Especially after I had gotten hurt, he reached out and when we got on our roll, he started reaching out top and said to tell everybody, his former coach hello and all that kind of stuff so it’s pretty cool. There’s a lot of different things at work here this week, between family ties between past co-worker ties and past coaching ties and it’s a fun little, you know, bragging rights kind of week.”
Those bragging rights will take immediate effect, with McGlinchey expecting between 50-to-60 members of their shared family to attend the game in Santa Clara on Sunday.