As the 2013 season winds down, tight end Tony Gonzalez is facing everything for the final time. He’s reflected on the mundane of his career over the last few games this season and with retirement looming, he knows each game represents a special memory. With two games left, Gonzalez is approaching a one-last-time scenario in Week 16: his final Monday Night Football game.
Gonzalez said Thursday he enjoys the national stage of Monday Night Football for the same reasons most players do. The opportunity to put your talents out there for everyone in the country to see is exciting for most professional athletes.
“When you’re on Monday Night Football, I get texts after the game,” Gonzalez said. “Win or lose, there are a hundred texts on my phone because people are watching. Everybody wants to see it, it’s the game of the night. It’s the only thing on.”
This Monday’s game against the 49ers will be the 17th game of Gonzalez’ career played on Monday night. Like nearly every other aspect of his career, he’s had quite a bit of success on national television. In 16 games, Gonzalez has 83 catches for 973 yards and three touchdowns. The future Hall of Famer’s Monday night performances offers an interesting perspective on Gonzalez’ career. He’s been as consistent as nearly any player in history and his Monday night stats aren’t unlike the stats he has routinely posted during 16 games of a regular season over the course of his career.
Gonzalez hasn’t played on Monday night in just six of his 17 seasons and in 2004 he appeared three times. He’s appeared in two games in three different seasons. As a member of the Falcons since 2009, Gonzalez has made a Monday night appearance in every season.
The game’s greatest tight end has played one Monday Night Football game on Saturday. Last season’s final Monday Night Football game of the year was moved to Saturday due to MNF falling on Christmas Eve. Gonzalez had one catch for nine yards that night.
The stellar career of Gonzalez is coming to a close, but as he says goodbye and takes in his final moments of the NFL, he’s still setting and breaking records. Last week, he became the fifth player in league history to post over 15,000 receiving yards and recorded his 110th career touchdown. A reception in this week’s game will give him 210 straight games with a catch, the longest active streak in the NFL.