The trade deadline has come and gone and the chants and wishes of “Tony G back to KC” are dead. In all likelihood, Gonzalez will spend the remainder of his final season in the NFL wearing an Atlanta Falcons jersey.
But…it didn’t have to be this way.
This deal boils down to ego, pure and simple. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff is from the same pedigree as former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli. You hold everything close to the vest and don’t give an inch. The Gonzalez trade to Atlanta was a gentlemen’s agreement in 2009 when Pioli sent him there for a second round pick at Tony’s request. Tony didn’t want to start over with a new head coach (Todd Haley) a new quarterback (Matt Cassell) and a new scheme. Pioli was happy to oblige because he didn’t want anyone around who didn’t want to be around. As we all know, it’s a process.
Tony wanted to play for a competitor. The Chiefs were at the bottom of the heap in the AFC West and though Tony has been referred to as the “ageless wonder” he wasn’t getting any younger. The Falcons were on their way up. It was the perfect fit for him. Though many Chiefs fans were sad to see him go, I think most of them got it.
But that was 2009. It’s 2013 and the Chiefs are a legitimate contender. They’re 8-0. Since the NFL/AFL merger, every team that has started 8-0 has made the playoffs.
The Falcons are 2-5. Their season is over. I get that it’s only midseason and to admit that would probably frustrate a fanbase, but let’s be real. The Falcons are 2-5 in the same division as the New Orleans Saints and the emerging Carolina Panthers. The Falcons’ best receiving threat in Julio Jones is out for the season. Roddy White hasn’t been healthy all season. Their big offseason acquisition, running back Steven Jackson, has been out most of the year with injury. Barring a miracle, the Falcons will be lucky to go 8-8.
So why not let Tony Gonzalez go?
This is Tony G’s last season. They had to convince him to come back this year. He wanted to retire after last season’s playoff run when the Falcons lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. But he came back for one last chance at a ring. A chance he may have had (and would have increased) had the egos in Atlanta dealt him. Now, instead of getting a fifth- or sixth-round pick for him, they’ll get nothing but the memories of him dunking over the goal posts.
Of all the things you could’ve taken from your friend Scott Pioli, Mr. Dimitroff, his ego shouldn’t have been one.
Bad business. Bad business, indeed.