I tweeted about this earlier in the day but now I just can’t take it anymore. It’s Tuesday and WFAN’s Mike Francesa is still insisting to anyone who will listen that Tony Gonzalez wasn’t open on the crucial 4th and 4 play with 1:12 remaining in the NFC Championship game. Francesa’s show is syndicated on the YES Network and despite the fact that they run the video of the play every time someone calls about it, Francesa is sticking to his guns. Did he fall asleep during the play too? Has he fallen asleep during the two days of replays?
Not only was Gonzalez open, but Harry Douglas (#83) was open for a first down too (top of the picture on the 6-yard line) if the ball came out on time. No matter who calls to tell him that Gonzalez was open, Francesa continually cuts them short and says, “Maybe he flashed open late,” referencing to after the ball had already been thrown and Gonzalez was left standing by himself in the end zone. “…but there wasn’t any reasonable opportunity where a pass play to Gonzalez could have been made,” Mike adds.
No opportunity for a play? Unless Tony Gonzalez dropped the ball, if Matt Ryan led Gonzalez towards the left hash mark, Tony would either get tackled by Dashon Goldson (#38) – just out of the picture at the 1-yard line at the time of this still shot – and or by Tarell Brown (#25) somewhere between the 4-yard line and the goal line. Had that occurred there would have been more than a minute left on the clock and it would have been first and goal. That scenario doesn’t even take into account the possibility that Tony could have broken a tackle and scored a touchdown. You can watch the play here at the 9:10 mark.
When Gonzalez went to the sideline you could clearly see him telling his teammates, “I was wide open.” After the game Gonzalez again stated that he was wide open. Francesca doesn’t think that the greatest tight end to ever play the game knows when he’s open? This is the NFL! It’s hard to be more wide open on a pass play than Gonzalez was with 11 defenders trying to prevent forward progress of the ball. Even Matt Ryan has stated that in hindsight, after seeing the replay that Tony Gonzalez was open for a first down.
Everyone is entitled to have their own opinion on things; that goes without saying. Except for Francesa… After this, Mike’s right to express his own opinions has been revoked…