NFC South: Bruce Matthews

Ronde Barber by the numbers

May, 8, 2013
With the news that Tampa Bay defensive back Ronde Barber is retiring, let’s turn to ESPN Stats & Information to put this spectacular career into some numerical perspective.
  • Barber retires with a streak of 215 straight starts. That was the longest active streak in the NFL. It also was the longest streak by a defensive player since the AFL-NFL merger. Barber last missed a start in Week 10 of the 1999 season.
  • Barber’s starting streak is the third longest by any player to end his career since the merger. Only offensive linemen Bruce Matthews (229) and Will Shields (223) were on longer streaks to end their careers.
  • Barber was selected to five Pro Bowls and named first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press three times.
  • Since sacks became an official statistic in 1982, Barber is the only player to record at least 20 sacks and 40 interceptions. He had 28 sacks and 47 interceptions.

Tony Gonzalez by the numbers

March, 12, 2013
Tony Gonzalez, who said multiple times he was 95 percent sure he would retire after last season, showed that numbers don’t always tell the whole story Tuesday when he said he was returning to the Atlanta Falcons next season.

But I still trust numbers, especially when they come from ESPN Stats & Information. They’ve got a handy file on Gonzalez and all his numbers. So, on this day when Atlanta fans are celebrating, let’s take a look at some of the numbers on Gonzalez.
  • His 13 Pro Bowls are tied for the second most in history. Only Bruce Matthews (14) has been to more Pro Bowls.
  • Gonzalez is the all-time leader in receptions by a tight end with 1,242. Shannon Sharpe (815) is second.
  • Gonzalez is the all-time leader in receiving yards by a tight end with 14,268. Sharpe is second with 10,060.
  • Gonzalez is the all-time leader in receiving touchdowns by a tight end with 103. Antonio Gates is second with 83.
  • Gonzalez still played at a high level last season. He ranked second among tight ends with 93 receptions.
  • Gonzalez will get a chance to build on his lead for regular-season starts by an active player. He has 238 career starts. Tampa Bay’s Ronde Barber is second with 232.
  • Here’s a record Gonzalez, who turned 37 in February, should have no problem breaking. The only tight end to have at least 20 catches at age 37 or older was Wesley Walls with 20 catches in 2003.
  • We’ll close it out with an amazing stat. Gonzalez had 27 receptions with no drops on throws of 10 yards or more last season. Since joining the Falcons in 2009, Gonzalez has had only one drop on those throws while making 86 receptions.

Reflecting on Tony Gonzalez

January, 21, 2013

ATLANTA -- If Sunday really was the end of the road for Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez, and he sure made it sound like he’s about to retire, it’s time for some reflection.

At just about every other position, you can sit and argue for days, weeks, months or years about who is the best ever. And usually you can’t even come to a universal agreement.

But that’s not the case with Gonzalez. When you talk about the greatest tight end ever, the conversation starts and ends with Gonzalez.

Just on the off chance you still need some convincing, let’s turn to ESPN Stats & Information to show you why:
  • Gonzalez has the most receptions (1,242) ever by a tight end. Shannon Sharpe is second with 815. Gonzalez is second in receptions by any player, trailing only Jerry Rice (1,549).
  • Gonzalez has more receiving yards (14,268) than any tight end. Sharpe is second with 10,060. Gonzalez ranks seventh on the all-time list for receiving yards.
  • His 103 receiving touchdowns are the most ever for a tight end. Antonio Gates is next with 83. Gonzalez is sixth among all NFL players in history in receiving touchdowns.
  • Gonzalez was selected to his 13th Pro Bowl this season. Only Bruce Matthews (14) had more Pro Bowl selections.
  • Gonzalez was selected first-team All-Pro six times.

If this really is the end, there’s still one more honor coming for Gonzalez. It will come in five years when he will be a certain first-ballot selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.