Nov 17, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) during the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
It’s Monday. Today is a special day for a lot of reasons. Tonight, the last football game will be played at Candlestick Park. The stadium has housed some of the most famous stories in NFL history and was the home to one of the most successful brands in football.
At the same time, it’ll be one of Tony Gonzalez’s lasts. The last time in the white uniform, the last road game, the last time stepping on a plane and going home after a win or loss, whatever the outcome may bring. Tonight is an important night.
I’ve paraded around the idea of having a bad enough record to pick up Jadeveon Clowney and almost spontaneously fix the defensive line, but with the win against Washington and the lack of wins by other 4-10 teams, that seems more like a hopeful wish. So tonight we get to cheer on the Falcons regardless of what the future holds. No what-ifs or maybes. But in a lost season with nothing on the line, there is one person we can cheer our asses off or. Tony Gonzalez.
Eight quarters away from retirement, Tony Gonzalez is without question the greatest tight end of all time. He’s done it all. Not only does he have more reception yards, receiving touchdown, and passes caught than any tight end, there are only a handful of wide receivers in league history that have more. On top of that, he’s a great blocking tight end—he only gave up three sacks in his 17-year career. He rarely causes penalties and is a constant game changer. He’s a natural born leader on and off the field dedicated to his organization, his teammates, and his city.
The only thing that is more impressive than his conduct on the field and in the weight room is with his community. He’s shown total dedication to his children and wife, he has countless charities, he does an improbable amount of community service, and even saved a man from choking to death once.
In the locker room, he puts holds his teammates to a high standard. He won’t allow guys to use obscene language like the N-word, he won’t let his teammates slack or put anything less than full effort.
To put it shortly, Tony Gonzalez is the definition of a leader. Look up Leader in the dictionary, you’ll get a picture of Tony Gonzalez. Look up Tony Gonzalez in the dictionary, and you’ll see “Leader” right under “GOAT.”
Two days ago, Tony boarded is last plane on the way to his last away game. Tonight, he’ll be on his way back to Atlanta for his last home game. He’s the backbone to what separates the Atlanta Falcons from the rest of the league and he’s given this city the best for five years. We owe it to him give it all back. Watch this game, cheer for Tony and the Falcons to walk out of Candlestick Park leaving behind thousands of shocked, angry, fans with a bad taste in their mouth. Then show up next Sunday loud and proud to cheer him off the field for the final time.
Thank you Tony Gonzalez.