The Week Eight game between the 2-4 Falcons and 3-4 Cardinals had the feel of an elimination game. If so, the Falcons have been eliminated.
Tight end Tony Gonzalez, who was 95 percent sure in 2012 that he wouldn’t be back in 2013, seems to realize it.
“This is devastating,” Gonzalez said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This puts us way behind the eight ball as far as the playoffs are concerned. I think our more immediate concern is winning a game against a good team. It was good that we got the win [against Tampa Bay] last week, but the Buccaneers haven’t even won a game this year.”
The only other Falcons win this year came against the Rams, who nearly erased a 21-point halftime deficit in Atlanta.
With the trade deadline a day away, it’s hard not to at least consider whether the Falcons will give Gonzalez a chance to finish his career with a team that has a realistic chance to land in the Super Bowl. While Gonzalez reportedly doesn’t want to be traded, he already has played the “get me off a crappy team” card once in his career. He can’t afford to be perceived as doing it again.
Likewise, the Falcons are believed to have no interest in trading him. But if he truly wants a chance to finish his career with a Super Bowl win (and why wouldn’t he?), it makes sense for the Falcons to give him that opportunity. He didn’t come back for the money (supposedly) or the privilege of playing 16 regular-season games. He returned for the ring.
What’s that, you say? The Falcons don’t want to send the wrong message to their fan base by folding the tents? The tents already have been folded. They can either finish the string with the Gonzalez Farewell Tour or they can leverage him for something that the team will have in 2014, when Gonzalez will be gone for good.
Unless, of course, he’s willing to reconsider his 100-percent vow to call it quits.