January 25, 2014; Honolulu, HI, USA; Team Rice tight end Tony Gonzalez of the Atlanta Falcons (88) talks to quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints (9) during the 2014 Pro Bowl Ohana Day at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Former Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez Says Falcons QB Matt Ryan is “Not Elite”


Former Kansas City Chiefs all-pro tight end Tony Gonzalez has been in the news quite a bit over the last couple of days. Yesterday, ,as my co-editor Ben Nielsen told you, Gonzalez told ESPN that he informed Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Fox and general manager Thomas Dimitroff that he would be open to a trade this past season when it was apparent the Falcons’ season was a lost cause.

Whether it was pride or plain old stupidity, Fox and Dimitroff held onto the “Ageless Wonder” and now Gonzalez will fade into retirement and the Falcons have nothing to show for it.

Today, Tony “G” is back in the news claiming his former quarterback Matt Ryan is NOT an elite QB.

“Matt’s an excellent quarterback,” Gonzalez said, via ESPN.com, “But he’s not elite. He’s this close. He’ll get there, but he has some learning to do.”

While I agree wholeheartedly with Gonzalez’s evaluation of Ryan’s talent at the quarterback position, I’m not so sure that Tony is the best person in the league to evaluate who is elite and who is not. I say this considering who has thrown Tony “G” the ball over his 16-year career.

Since entering the league in 1997, Gonzalez has caught passes from no-less than 15 quarterbacks. That’s nearly one per year. Those names include good quarterbacks like Trent Green, Rich Gannon, Elvis Grbac and yes, even Matt Ryan. However, the list also includes names like Todd Collins, Tyler Thigpen, Chris Redman and a Chiefs favorite, Brodie Croyle.

My point here is, Gonzalez has never played with an elite quarterback, so how would he know what one is?

Everyone has their own system of quarterback evaluation and a basis to judge who is elite and who isn’t. However, by anyone’s system of evaluating pure QB talent, Gonzalez – in all of his 16 great years – has never caught a pass from an elite QB, unless it was during a Pro Bowl game.

The bottom line here is, Tony “G” has quite obviously reached the end of his road. He should fade away quietly, take a year off and then come back and sit at the table with Michael Irvin, Kurt Warner and Warren Sapp and debate football every Sunday.

What he shouldn’t do is give fans hope he might come back and knock his former teammates while they’re still trying to play football.

That’s just my two cents, Addicts. What’s yours?

Tags: Featured Kansas City Chiefs Popular Tony Gonzalez

  • andrew

    So you’re saying the only way to evaluate and tell if a qb is elite is if you caught a pass from him?

    • Jason Seibel

      Nope, I guess I’m saying he should just keep his mouth shut. He doesn’t play for the team anymore so why bag on the quarterback?

      • Jimmy R Sanders

        He didn’t bag on him he just stated a fact because he aint an elite qb and I think he is being nice by saying he will get there

    • TAZMOSIS

      History shows that Tony set just about every record in the NFL for tight ends. All these are despite that he was never catching passes from an “elite” QB. I believe that gives him the right to make what is an absolute true evaluation of Matt Ryan. But, Tony also stated that Ryan would get there. That is not a dis on the kid. Just a fact.

    • Brandon DeFilippo

      I find that to be the most foolish thing ive ever heard!!! So Dan Marino cannot tell you the offensive recipe or playbook for winning a Super Bowl? BC he clearly doesn’t know anything about it, despite being one of the best of all time. And how bout this one-Elisha Manning is one of the top three qb’s to ever play the game, he won two Bowls, along with two Bowl MVP’s! (threw the #3 out there but I admittedly am not certain of how many qb’s exactly have won multiple Bowl MVP’s). Since I brought Eli up, id like to go on record as saying that I don’t think he is elite by any means, and not even a top ten qb in today’s game. And if you think back, both he and Coughlin were both on the hot seat and on their way out New York had they not won that initial Super Bowl that year, ’07 I think. Won’t even get into the fortunate opponents, and SEVERAL plays along the way, that got them there. In fact, I’ll do the opposite and credit them for winning the Bowl that year, but point being had they not, Eli and Coughlin would’ve both been extremely critisized that off season, in a very negative way. There isn’t an elite qb out there that carries himself in such a sluggish, boyish manner, like Eli does. It just irritates me greatly, clearly. But, basically, bc of his accomplishments, and elite class membership amongst multiple Bowl MVP winners, do you honestly consider him one of the best of all time, let alone the top three in history of the game? If he wasn’t Peytons little brother, he would’ve been hated on greatly from the start of his career, for his lack of production. OK, enough of Eli, sorry to go off on a tangent. And I’m no professional receiver, nor analyst, but I am confident I can pick out the elite qb’s of today’s game. Basically your statement could be interpreted as each and every reporter or analyst commenting on games each Sunday, have zero credibility, UNLESS they’ve played the game professionally. BC how can u appropriately or accurately dissect something you haven’t actually done. Its basically all meaningless speculation, in your opinion. That’s how I understand the comment. Foolish!!! But you do prove your own point, I guess, that’s assuming you never played professional ball, BC I didn’t check out your bio, sorry. But by your own ideas, you cannot properly even say whether or not Gonzo can distinguish amongst the elite, BC you’ve never caught a professionally thrown pass yourself, so how would you know anything about catching passes, elite or not. You’ve never been in that position, so how can you be able to accurately say exactly what type of balls Gonzo is catching, AND BETTER THAN GONZO HIMSELF CAN DISTINGUISH! What part of your background allows you to know, and agree or disagree, with any receivers breakdown of Matt Ryan???

  • tm1946

    Like to many athletes, TG is talking when he should be smiling and accepting the admiration from the NFL fans. Does anyone care if his last QB was not up to snuff for him? Guess he should have stayed in KC and eventually run for mayor. Dawson made a pretty good “next” career after football, TG could have been bigger. He chose to leave. Right choice or not, his karma was to never get to the superbowl, hardly makes his career a total waste of time. It is over and he may want to be a bit more gracious about what was.

  • jimfromkcj

    Tony isn’t saying anything that anyone couldn’t see for themselves. Even with the poor QB’sthe Chiefs have had would look good if they had Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony to throw to. Atlanta has been a disappointment and there is no other way around it, He just isn’t elite or even very close to it. Actually Tony was just being kind to suggest he was close.

    • tm1946

      And – Gee, I could have been a contender, if only…….(Waterfront)
      ‘Sounds a little like sour grapes except to those who want to believe different.

  • Royals_Fan

    There is nothing wrong with what he said. He’s made average QBs look great. It doesn’t matter if he’s played for an elite QB or not. The analysts never played for an elite QB and it’s okay for fans and sports writers to claim who is elite and who isn’t, yet when Tony says something he’s criticized?

    Tony is one of the best, if not the best, TEs to play the game. He said Matt Ryan is an excellent QB and is very close to becoming an elite QB. What’s wrong with saying that? Tony G will be in the HOF, is his career deminished because he never played with a Brees, Manning or Brady? No. But he knows the difference between an every day QB and an elite QB.

    • Jason Seibel

      “Tony G will be in the HOF, is his career deminished because he never played with a Brees, Manning or Brady?” Exatly my point. It won’t be diminished. So why say anything?

      • Royals_Fan

        Because he was asked a question about Matt Ryan and he answered it. Why get so upset about him answering a question? Everyone that has been asked the question on ESPN and says what he’s said is fine and he has earned the right to say that. He wasn’t mean, he didn’t say anything that would make Ryan mad, he simply stated he’s not yet elite. He’s an excellent QB though. Do you think ATL fans think Ryan is elite?

        But back to one of my points I made, if Tony became a Sports Analysis for ESPN would it not be a big deal? Because ex-players of the NFL say Ryan isn’t elite and no one seems to make a big deal about that.

  • T.Hagen

    While I agree what Tony said, he should keep statements like that himself , be the quite guy that doesn’t ruffle the feathers of people that can’t handle comments like that.

  • berttheclock

    I would give this a tad more credence if he had been able to work with Palko.

    However, the biggest problem with the demise of the former high flying Falcons was Dimitroff letting his defense get old in the tooth. In addition, by giving up so much to try to improve his offense, he didn’t have the necessary picks to rebuild the defense. Their defense became the old and slow. Had the defense been rebuilt into a solid unit, Tony G may well have gone very far in the playoffs. But, I do understand the reason he was asked the question because this feeling that Ryan is not quite there as an elite QB has been mentioned very often by the so-called pundits at ESPN and NFL Network. There is one former player at NFL Network who has made this his mantra.

  • http://fansided.com Zach

    Sounds like someone is trying to get a media job. Look out Michael Strahan…

    • Danny W

      That’s an angle I didn’t think of but wouldn’t doubt it. Tony is a hard worker why would he want to sit down and do nothing for a while. I bet he would be better than Ladanian Tom. Sheesh that guy needs a friend to tell him to hang up the microphone and go be a running back coach somewhere.

      • http://fansided.com Zach

        Shannon Sharpe better be looking for a new job. Tony Gonzalez is a better TE, more articulate, and can also draw in the ladies crowd. Not to mention it would get Sharpe off of TV (hopefully).

      • http://fansided.com Zach

        Shannon Sharpe better be looking for a new job. Tony Gonzalez is a better TE, I think would be better, and can also draw in the ladies crowd. Not to mention it would get Sharpe off of TV (hopefully).

        • Danny W

          I think Sharpe is funny. Would love to see he and Tony taking little jabs at each other though.

        • Danny W

          Is this Best? If so thanks for the site good Sir. Love this place.

  • Danny W

    No Ryan isn’t considered elite yet. But he’s damn sure top ten. Better than Flaccoe and Ben Idon’ttakenoforananswerBurger.

  • DTVTechGuy

    Soooo….

    In one breath you say Tony G should keep his mouth shut…

    In another breath you say you agree with him…

    That’s called being a hypocrit since you said the same thing he did and are FAR less qualified to make the statement than he is.

    Just a thought…