As the temperature heats up and the air conditioner keeps turning, we count down the days of July until Training Camp starts and football is upon us. Until that time, I continue with what might be the easiest installment of my All-Time Chiefs Team: The Tight Ends. Though a few of my columns have created some debate, this one should not. Enjoy, Addicts!
Starter – Tony Gonzalez
This is one of the easiest decisions and should be argument free. Tony Gonzalez is not only the greatest tight end in franchise history but also the NFL. (I’m talking to you Shannon Sharpe.) Let me just go through the numbers by category. First off, Franchise records: 1st in receiving yards at 10,940 (over 3,500 ahead of 2nd place), 1st in receptions at 916 (500 catches ahead of 2nd place), 1st in touchdowns with 76 (19 ahead of 2nd). He caught a pass in 130 straight games for the Chiefs, shattering Stephone Paige’s previous franchise mark of 83 games. Now for Chiefs Single Season records: He holds the 1st through 4th and also 9th and 10th best single season for catches, setting the record in 2004 with 102. (99 in 2007, 96 in 2008, 93 in 2000, 78 in 2005 and 76 in 1999.) He is tied for 3rd with 11 touchdown catches in 1999 and tied for 5th with his 10 TD campaigns of 2008 and 2003. And now for the NFL records: Record for TD’s by a TE with 107, record for receptions by a TE with 1,242 and record for receiving yards by a TE with 14,268. Tony is also the only tight end in NFL history with more than 3 seasons (4) of over 1,000 yards receiving. Gonzalez is also the all-time leader in Pro Bowl receptions with 42 and TD’s at 6. During Gonzalez’s tenure with the Chiefs, the tight end made the Pro Bowl 10 times and was a 9x All Pro. For a little longer than a decade he was the greatest tight end in all football and then of All-Time, and he was a Chief.
Reserve – Fred Arbanas
The original franchise tight end, Arbanas set and held the majority of the position’s records until Tony G came along. (198 catches and 3,101 yards receiving respectively, and is still in the top ten in yards and touchdowns ). A key part of the dynasty of the Sixties, Arbanas was a member of all three AFL Championship teams and the Super Bowl IV Champions. The AFL’s prototype TE, Arbanas hurt his left eye in a game in December of 1964 that would eventually cause blindness. Arbanas did not let that keep him down. He continued his superb play, resulting in becoming a member of the AFL All-Time Team, a Missouri Sports Hall of Fame member and one of the first members of the Ring of Honor. Len Dawson’s safety value made 5 Pro Bowls and was a 3x Time All-Pro during the most successful era of Chiefs football.
Well Addicts, this should be as open and shut as Tony being a first ballot Hall of Famer, but if not let the debate begin! Be sure to check the next installment: the Tackles!