Sports Briefs: The Best Tight End Ever

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Chris: As tempting as it would be to name Casper the Ghost as the best tight end ever, the only Casper who ever played tight end was the Raiders’ Dave Casper. Casper the Ghost was actually a running back. Nevertheless, Hall of Famer Dave would be considered the best, if it weren’t for others who were better. (I’m very good at this journalism thing, wouldn’t you agree?)

Joe: Tony Gonzalez is the best tight end of all time because he holds the all-time record for NFL tight ends for touchdown receptions (111) and total reception yards (15,127) by a tight end. Gonazlez is known for his durability, having only missed two games in his 17-year career and since 2000 had 1,145 receptions and only one fumble.

Tony Gonzalez is NOT the best tight end ever because he wasn't all that strong at blocking.

Chris: Tony Gonzalez once posed for pictures for PETA, wearing nothing but his Super Bowl rings in strategically placed areas. However, considering Gonzalez has never played in a Super Bowl, his wardrobe for the photo shoot was quite sparse and highly inappropriate. Even the animals PETA represents were embarrassed.

Brad: I think that Tony Gonzalez would be the best tight end of all time if Jason Witten's career was over, but I think we will see Witten pass his accomplishments by the time he retires.

Chris: While Kellen Winslow never made a Super Bowl, he did successfully go before the Supreme Court to change the job description of a tight end. He led the league in receptions and had multiple seasons over 1,000 yards receiving during a time when tight ends were only allowed to catch passes if they were wearing boxing gloves. Winslow was named to the NFL’s All-Time Team. Plus, he has good genes, spawning a less-talented son who considered himself a soldier, and Winslow surely must be related to Officer Carl Winslow on “Family Matters.”

Joe: Kellen Winslow is not the best tight end of all time. He was a great tight end for eight years with the San Diego Chargers, but his statistics do not match up with Tony Gonzalez.

Brad: Kellen Winslow is not the best tight end ever because his career was ended by an injury too soon for him to accomplish as much as other tight ends.

Ralphie: Kellen Winslow is NOT the best tight end ever because he was held back by his ACL and was always concerned with possible future injury.

Brad: I think Jason Witten is the best tight end ever, because not only is he a solid player and a driving force on the Cowboys, but his career is far from over. He is a dedicated, humble player who is there to play and take his team to victory, without all the flashy attention.

Joe: Jason Witten is not the best tight end of all time and is not even the best tight end in the game today. He has been a Cowboy staple for a decade and holds the record for most consecutive games by a tight end. He is one of only three tight ends to exceed 10,000 yards receiving.

Ralphie: Jason Witten is NOT the best tight end ever because of his inconsistencies in the end zone.

Chris: While Jason Witten may have more catches, more touchdowns and more vacation trips to Mexico during the playoffs, Witten is not even the best tight end in Cowboys history. That distinction goes to Jay Novacek, who – unless Coach Jerry Jones fires Head Puppet Jason Garrett and hires an oxygen-breathing general manager and head coach – will finish with more Super Bowl victories than Witten. Actually, Witten may be the third best tight end in Cowboys history behind Novacek and Mike Ditka.

Ralphie: Mike Ditka is the best tight end ever because of his stellar career stats.

Joe: Mike Ditka is not the best tight end of all time but he was the meanest. He is the only player to ever win a championship as a player and a coach for the same team. Ditka was the first tight end inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was great and established the tight end position, but his receiving statistics do not compare with Gonzalez.

Brad: Mike Ditka may be the first tight end inducted into the Hall of Fame, but that is not all it takes to be the best tight end ever.

Try on a new pair of Sports Briefs with the Gab Four every Friday. Find out more about Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie, and read their solo columns on their individual pages.
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