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SI/Peter King on Tony Gonzalez

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Rusty Shackleford, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford Active Member

    Anyone else read the profile of the Atlanta TE this week? I was struck by parts of it, and it reminded me of mid-90s baseball reporting and the way players were able to do things never before thought possible thanks, we later learned, to steroids.

    Now I'm obviously not saying Gonzo is on anything at all - I have no idea - but this sounds like exactly the kind of reporting that was done on McGwire (McGuire? McGwuire? McGwaire?</crossthread>) and Sosa.

    The game used to kick 36-year-old tight ends like Gonzalez to the curb. There was no place for 37-year-old linebackers like Fletcher, or 37-year-old defensive backs like Ronde Barber, or 37-year-old centers like Jeff Saturday. Time to do your life's work now. And yet this off-season the Skins went hard after Fletcher, their own free agent; new Bucs coach Greg Schiano recruited Barber to stay as the keystone of his secondary; and the Packers zeroed in on Saturday, a longtime Colt, to anchor their O-line. Come March it will be the Falcons begging Gonzalez to return in 2013. This is a new era in the NFL, with maniacally prepared players thriving in what used to be their NFL dotage.

    To suggest that there's any one reason that Gonzalez is better in his 30s than in his 20s would be a disservice to all the other reasons. He's a nut about what he puts into his body, so much so that the junk-food eaters in Atlanta's locker room call him the Food Police. At practice every day he gets a p.r. aide to throw him 40 extra balls before drills commence, plus another 40 during mid-practice lulls and 20 after practice. He loathes the JUGS machine because of its predictability and tells his real-life passer, "Don't throw it at me. Give me some tough ones." He and Ryan hold chemistry sessions, where the QB learns exactly what mid-route adjustments Gonzalez is going to make. And because Gonzalez noticed last year that he was getting a few balls knocked out of his grasp by whacks on the arms, he started to work with 50-pound kettle bells, straight-jerking with both arms to strengthen the muscles that once allowed a ball to be chopped loose.

    Gonzalez is getting better with age. In his 6½ seasons since turning 30, he's caught 547 passes for the Falcons and the Chiefs. In the 6½ seasons before, playing in Kansas City, he caught 533.

    I mean, does that not sound suspicious to anyone else, particularly the parts in red? That is, almost literally, the types of things sports writers wrote about baseball players 10-15 years ago. Have we just not hit that point with NFL players yet where we call things what they obviously are? Things that were nearly impossible 50 years ago (getting better into your mid-30s, playing into your 40s) are simply attributed to diet and exercise. Is it going to take a container of andro in some player's locker to start this process in the NFL? It's like we as journalists have learned nothing.

    I realize that breaking something like this will be difficult, but come on - this story, at least the hero-worshipping style in which it is written, just begs to be investigated, and not just on Gonzalez but on the entire league.
  2. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    Forget baseball 15 years ago, what about this?

  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Nah, nobody's supposed to notice that NFL players have gotten 75 pounds heavier AND faster in a single generation. It's an NFL scribe rule. I mean, sure, some guys like Shawne Merriman and Brian Cushing might accidentally take a bad supplement, but nobody would be doing anything else and certainly not on purpose.

    Clay Matthews having some hamstring problems. Again. Totally not about muscles getting too big for the frames holding them, though.
  4. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    I agree that the performance of Gonzalez and other mid-to-upper 30s players in the NFL shouldn't raise some eyebrows, but I might argue with the premise that Tony G. is better now than in his 20s just because he's caught a few more passes. He's playing in a totally different kind of offense in Atlanta with a much better quarterback than he ever played with in KC.
  5. JC

    JC Well-Known Member

    OOP just heard a bell go off.
  6. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Ray Nitschke played until he was 36.

    Jeff Van Note played until he was 40.

    Darrell Green played until he was 42.

    Except for a brief appearances afterward, George Blanda quarterbacked until he was 45.

    Obviously, most guys don't play that long, but a lot of that has to do with injuries and attrition. But to pretend this is a recent phenomenon is ridiculous.
  7. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    But Baron, nobody would argue that those guys were getting better, or even staying as good, that long in their careers. That's like saying Barry Bonds wasn't doing anything untoward because Hank Aaron also played into his 40s.
  8. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Tony Gonzalez isn't actually getting better. That's just the type of trite horseshit Peter King writes to make his story seem more relevant or because he can't help but use awful cliches. Every red phrase in the OP is a cliche. Stop reading Peter King, and your brain will thank you.
  9. silent_h

    silent_h Member

    Personally, I concur with the other posters who note that it doesn't take a story like this -- or a parallel with aging-baseball-players-defying-time stories of the late 1990s/early 2000s -- to think that, gee, maybe professional football has a lot of PED use.

    That said, I'm a little surprised that I've never read anything on athletes-defying-time and PED use in pro basketball.
  10. Pencil Dick

    Pencil Dick Member

    Darrell Green at age 52 could still beat 99% of the current NFL players in the 40-yard dash.
  11. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    Or NASCAR, tennis, or hockey. I know there's been whispers and the occasional story by former players, but I can't recall any kind of prevailing test cases that made these sports answer for their respective testing policies.
  12. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Congress asked the NBA about steroids, but the NBA sent Juan Dixon up there to tell them everything was OK.

    Karl Malone's before-and-after pictures are more hilarious than Barry Bonds'.
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