The truth behind Tony Gonzalez’s forgotten years in KC

As Tony Gonzalez prepares to take his rightful place in Canton this Saturday, it appears many are focusing on his five years in Atlanta.

Perhaps it stands to reason, afterall, Tony never won that ever elusive playoff game until the Falcons beat the Seahawks in the divisional round in 2012. After learning of his induction, he put over his time in Atlanta, glossing over the 12 years he spent in Kansas City.

“The Falcons…honestly…made my career.” Gonzalez said back in February. “When I got to Atlanta it’s like all of a sudden you’re a part of this winning organization, we’re on TV every week, doing Monday Night Football.”

These comments angered many Chiefs fans, forcing Tony to back off his comments somewhat in hopes of placating the franchise that drafted him, made him a star and inducted them into its ring of honor.

The subtle jabs against the Chiefs continued Thursday night on NBC during the Hall of Fame game between Denver and Atlanta. Highlights and interviews with each inductee played throughout the broadcast and, you guessed it, most of these highlights focused on Tony as a Falcon. He told sideline reporter Michele Tafoya how great it was for him to see Julio Jones and Matt Ryan and ogled over his playoff win back in 2012.

We all know that the NFL is a business and no one could fault Gonzalez for wanting out of KC back in 2009. The franchise was going through a complete rebuild and wanted to load up on younger talent. Meanwhile Gonzalez wanted to be a part of a winner and have a chance at a SuperBowl. He came within an eyelash of achieving this but retired in 2013 with just seven playoff appearances and one victory.

Tony Gonzalez in Kansas City

Gonzalez was drafted by the Chiefs with the 13th pick in the 1997 draft. It was thought that his athleticism as a former Cal basketball standout in football and basketball would be a perfect fit for the Chiefs’ west coast offense. Over the next 12 years he would make 10 Pro Bowls, set numerous franchise and league records and cemented himself as the best tight end to ever play the game. By the time he was traded to the Falcons in 2009, he was already set for Canton, Ohio.

Playoff Appearances

1997 (lost divisional round to Broncos)

2003 (lost divisional round to Colts)

2005 (lost wildcard round to Colts)


1997: Elvis Grbac/Rich Gannon

1998-2000: Elvis Grbac

2001-2004: Trent Green

2005-2007: Trent Green, Damon Huard, Brodie Croyle

2008: Brodie Croyle, Tyler Thigpen, Damon Huard

Stats KC vs. Atlanta

Kansas CityYards
Playoff Appearances
Atlanta4,187 Playoff Appearances

Lest we forget that Tony was also a part of the Chiefs’ record-breaking offenses of 2002-2004 that featured Priest Holmes, Dante Hall, Trent Green and one of the greatest offensive lines of all time. His career flourished despite playing with subpar quarterbacks like Brodie Croyle, Elvis Grbac, Damon Huard and…Tyler Thigpen.

Should Chiefs fans be offended that they’ve been seemingly glossed over in favor of the Falcons? They could certainly have a gripe and, fairly or not, these developments could impact his legacy in Kansas City moving forward.

Avatar of Clint Switzer
Full-time sports fan, part-time contributor to society. GASN Sports co-founder, podcast host, filmmaker and writer.

One thought on “The truth behind Tony Gonzalez’s forgotten years in KC

  1. I have been a chiefs season ticket holder since 1968 I watched all of tony gameswheather he believs atlanta made him better is a shun on the team that drafted him and made him a household name I wonder if not for the chiefs would he be where he is today I think he dishonored the team that made him he should get rid of all his chiefs memorbila and leave the chiefs ring of fame and let atlanta stick him on there ring of what nots

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