As a result of the win over the Seattle Seahawks last weekend, the Atlanta Falcons had finally to record a playoff win in the Matt Ryan era. The Falcons franchise has taken a lot of criticism over the last few years with an inability to win in the postseason despite strong performances during the regular season, but the critics were held at bay with the Falcons getting the best of Russell Wilson and company last week at the Georgia Dome.
Along with the first playoff win for Ryan, it was also the first playoff win for perennial Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez. Despite playing 16 years in the NFL, Gonzalez was unable to win in the playoffs with the Kansas City Chiefs or the Falcons before last weekend.
The win over the Seahawks took its toll on Gonzalez with the veteran tight end emotional after the game and as a result of the first playoff win retirement may be that much closer according to fellow Falcons tight end Michael Palmer via Mike Garafolo of USA Today:
“He told me today he’s moving up to 97-percent sure after that win last week,” backup tight end Michael Palmer told USA TODAY Sports Thursday. “From what I can get from him, if we win the Super Bowl, I think he’ll ride off into the sunset.”
With the Falcons coming into the NFC Championship game on their home field as underdogs against the San Francisco 49ers, Gonzalez might be heading into the last game of his career in the NFL.
Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens is also potentially heading into the final game of his 17-year career in the league against the New England Patriots on the same day in the AFC Championship game.
Despite the end drawing near, Gonzalez continues to put up monster numbers for the Falcons leading the team in receptions this season with 93. Along with the 93 catches, Gonzalez also racked up 930 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.