Many great players will find motivation wherever they can, even if they have to invent it.
That’s what Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez has apparently done, saying he took pride in making his 13th Pro Bowl because it gave him an opportunity for “proving people wrong.”
While we may have missed the line of people saying the 36-year-old Gonzalez — one of the most consistently productive players in the game — has lost a step, he apparently heard them.
They talk a lot.
“Because the older you get the more people start to doubt you,” Gonzalez said, via Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “Just because of human nature. ‘You are getting old, there is no way you can move around like you used to.’ I’ve been hearing that. ‘Oh, he’s lost a step, he’s not as fast as he used to be.’
“It’s nice to go out there and play well and tell them, ‘What do you got to say now?’ That’s part of the fun is proving people wrong.”
Of course, the criticism of his team is real, after winning a lot of regular season games but none in the playoffs. That’s why the Falcons aren’t up in arms about having just three Pro Bowlers (Gonzalez, quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones).
“I know there are teams with far worse records than we had and they had more guys in the Pro Bowl, but that’s how it goes,” Gonzalez said. “Who cares? Our goal is to play in a different bowl, not the bowl in Hawaii.”
If they can do that, they will quiet the criticism — the kind that actually exists.