Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Lens: Remembering Tony Gonzalez’s Old-Man Game

During his final season as a 37-year-old NFL tight end, Atlanta Falcon Tony Gonzalez still performed at an elite level. Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Lens examines two plays.

In a podcast about Old-Man Game that I made last June, I described “Old-Man Game” as the superior technical and strategic savvy that you often see from a middle-aged man or senior citizen competing with guys 15-30 years younger.  Gonzalez fit this description perfectly — especially as a former power forward who leaned on those court skills even more during the sunset years of his NFL career.

Yes, Gonzalez has been gone for a few years and he’s in the CBS studio. However, his portfolio of work remains one of the best at the position in the modern era. If you’re not studying the best, you’re missing an important on-going educational tool as a fan, writer, or evaluator. And if you’re not studying the way an aging player still performs at a high level, you’re missing a treasure trove of details that coaches and players should be noting.


Any tight end coach or tight end prospect should be studying Gonzalez’s later years. He dominated in the middle of the field and still presented matchup issues split from the formation because of his get-off from the line, his sudden breaks, and his skill at posting up and framing position.

He does a lot of little things that could benefit players who will never possess the great deep speed or an elite vertical leap of a top prospect.  However, something tells me that most players marvel at elite athletes at their physical peak when they should be studying elite players who are still performing well during their physical decline. These are the times where they maximize every angle and that film is a doctorate clinic at their respective positions.

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Categories: Matt Waldman, Players, The NFL Lens, Tight EndTags: , , ,

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