Tony Gonzalez admits pushing off is a big part of his success

AP

As Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez prepares for the final game of his Hall of Fame career, he attributes some of his success to something that drives opposing players nuts: Pushing off.

Defensive players routinely complain that big, physical receivers like Gonzalez get away with offensive pass interference. Gonzalez admitted to ESPN.com that pushing off is a part of his game.

“I think I’ve always done that, and I still do it,” he said. “If you ask any defender in the league, they say I’m the ‘Push-off King,’ but it’s just creating leverage.”

Smart players figure out where the lines are between what the officials will allow and what will draw a flag, and keep their play on the legal side of the line. Gonzalez has always been a smart player, and that’s part of what has made him a great player.

20 responses to “Tony Gonzalez admits pushing off is a big part of his success

  1. This is why I laugh at players and fans who whine about physical press corners like Richard Sherman, Darrelle Revis, Vontae Davis, prime Asomugha, Al Harris, etc who actually have the size and tenacity to give these guys a taste of their own medicine.

    Players like Gonzalez, Anquan Boldin, Terrell Owens, Michael Crabtree, Greg Jennings have made careers out of outmuscling featherweight DBs, often illegally, without any penalties called on them. Anyone remember Roddy White flagrantly shoving Josh Wilson to the ground before hauling in a game winning TD pass with no flag in a primetime game a couple years back?

  2. You have to be strong enough to get away with it. The weak WRs/TEs need to extend their arms completely to push off. The big, strong guys can push a defender off them with a mere nudge, making it difficult for the officials to notice it.

  3. Pushing off is the wrong term.

    The big receivers, TE’s will “muscle” their way to the ball, exercising their right to their space on the field. Done properly, it’s beautiful combination of power and finesse.

    Gonzo has a black belt in this NFL version of Jiu-Jitsu.

  4. Every position does what they can get away with. O-line guys hold a little, d-backs interfere a little. Just part of the game and you do your best to not cross the line to get a flag. This guy could play next year if he wanted to. Plenty of teams would take him.

  5. All great receivers do this to some degree. And it makes sense why DBs get angry since they are routinely called for touch fouls that are 30-40 yard penalties. Stop calling so much damn PI & when you do make it a 15 yard penalty for light contact & a spot foul when it’s egregious.

  6. Not ONE receiver in league history has accomplished anything without using his arms and hands to create space from DB’s. Anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot. Conversely, not ONE DB has accomplished much without a tug or pull on receivers. It goes both ways. I think the frustration for fans is that Pass Int. can be a brutal penalty. All PI’s should be 15 yards unless they are flagrant.

  7. If you are Tony Gonzalez it’s cool, and we can all laugh at it..it you are Jason Witten pull that yellow flag.

  8. Give the guy credit, he’s an awesomely gifted player and a smarter person. If he DIDN’T push off we’d all call him soft and say he wasn’t a physical player.

    Personally I like watching the physical play between receivers and defenders. It’s one of the last “arts” of the NFL that is still around. 99% of the time I think the “let them play” mantra should prevail.

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