Tony Gonzalez has caught a lot of flack for his comments regarding the Falcons. It is time to forgive him and remember him as a Kansas City Hall of Famer.
I would like to start this off by saying you have every right to feel any way you want about Tony Gonzalez and the infamous “Atlanta made my career” comment. However, we should at least try and forgive the Pro Football Hall of Famer and Chiefs Ring of Honor member.
In fact, our first thoughts of Tony Gonzalez should be his long list of incredible accomplishments—not the poor choice of words from 2019.
Recently, Tony Gonzalez posted a workout video on Twitter and teased a comeback to the Chiefs. It was light-hearted, humorous, and slightly hopeful that a 44-year-old could get back on the gridiron as a red zone threat. The comments under the video were completely different and it struck me as a little odd that, after everything Tony has done in Kansas City, those few words are the lasting memory.
For the sake of context and remembering exactly what happened in 2019, here are the full quotes from Gonzalez that incited the wrath of some Chiefs fans.
“The Falcons honestly made my career. It really did. Nothing against Kansas City. I was there 12 years, only three playoff games. But when I got to Atlanta, it’s like now you’re part of this winning organization or on TV every week. Now I’m doing Monday Night Football, Sunday Night Football games. I love it here. I love being back here.”
Sheesh. Not good on paper, right? I was very irate with him, too, but let’s take a step back. Gonzalez has never said anything bad about Kansas City. He wasn’t here ripping on Kansas City to bring Atlanta up. He was saying he enjoyed being on a winning team. We talk all the time of the dark days when Dustin Colquitt was the team’s best player or when the Chiefs went through a plethora of quarterbacks who all struggled. Why can’t a Hall of Fame player who was chasing a ring be honest that he enjoyed playing for that team and actually enjoyed the thrill of winning?
Everyone knows, even Atlanta fans, that they didn’t make his career. That happened in Kansas City when he was the most dominant tight end in the NFL. He put up his best numbers in Kansas City as a five-time, first-team All-Pro compared to only making the cut once in Atlanta. He also helped pave the way for the future of the tight end position right here in K.C. Maybe I am biased, but I truly think as of now, Tony Gonzalez is the best tight end ever. I want to proudly say that the best ever played in Kansas City. I think everyone, including myself, was caught up in the words rather than his actions.
Gonzalez’s actions have been almost entirely positive when it relates to Kansas City and it seems like he knows those few words from last year have changed fans’ perception of him. His video teasing a comeback is him trying to get back in the good graces of Chiefs fans. It is time to let the past go and remember him dunking the ball over the goalpost. Let’s remember him for passing Shannon Sharpe for the most receiving yards by a tight end and for the 10 Pro Bowls earned right here in Kansas City. You may remember him as a ring-chaser but I remember him as the best tight end ever— as a Kansas City Chief.
(Now the part that is most ironic is that he never got that ring and the Chiefs just won a Super Bowl which is comparable in my mind to when Greinke wanted out and then the Royals won a World Series before he did. Moral of the story: if a great player wants out of a Kansas City, we are going to win the championship.)