Gonzalez giddy about another postseason shot

Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez has never won a postseason game in his 14 NFL seasons. He suffered an early exit three times while playing in Kansas City.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. --- Tony Gonzalez looks at the picture hanging in his locker, an erratic maze of colors resembling nothing in particular, scribbled out in crayon by his young daughter.


"Isn't that great?" he says proudly.

You know what else is great? Playing the 14th season of a stellar career with the NFC's top-seeded Atlanta Falcons, who have this weekend off and won't have to play another game away from the Georgia Dome unless they make it to the Super Bowl.

For a guy who's been to playoffs only three times -- and never won a postseason game -- Gonzalez is almost giddy with anticipation.

"It's like a little kid and Christmas is next week," he said Thursday. "You start anticipating what you're going to get, what can happen, because you don't know what's going to happen. I guess you take the same approach as a little kid. You try to keep your mind busy."

There's no denying that Gonzalez's quest to win not just a playoff game, but a Super Bowl title before he takes his place in Canton, is one of the major subplots for the Falcons heading into the postseason.

"We know playoff wins are not guaranteed," running back Michael Turner said. "Some guys go through their whole career and, no matter who great they are, never win a championship. We want to make sure Tony goes out with a ring on his finger."

This is why Gonzalez left the Kansas City Chiefs after a dozen years. He knew his career was winding down and wanted one more shot at a ring. He viewed Atlanta as a franchise on the rise.

Gonzalez played on a 13-win team his very first season with the Chiefs. But Kansas City lost in the division round to the eventual Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos.

It would be six long years before Gonzalez and the Chiefs got another shot at the playoffs. In 2003, Kansas City again won its division with a 13-3 record. Again, they were done in by a superb quarterback, losing 38-31 to the Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.

Gonzalez would make the playoffs one final time during his tenure in Kansas City, getting in as a wild card in 2006. It was yet another one-and-done courtesy of Manning and the Colts.

"You don't get too many chances to be in the position we've put ourselves in," said Roddy White, the Falcons' star receiver. "When you do, you've got to take advantage of it. We're going to go out there and try to do whatever it takes to get (Gonzalez) what he needs. He wants to win the big one real bad. We all want to win it real bad."

Wild Card playoffs


- New Orleans at Seattle, 4:30 p.m. (NBC-Ch. 26)

- N.Y. Jets at Indianapolis, 8 p.m. (NBC-Ch. 26)


- Baltimore at Kansas City, 1 p.m. (CBS-Ch. 12)

- Green Bay at Philadelphia, 4:30 p.m. (Fox-Ch. 54)


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