Jan 20, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) leaves the field following his defeat to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome. The 49ers defeated the Falcons 28-24. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons end run at Super Bowl; TE Gonzalez set to retire


The Atlanta Falcons ended their march to New Orleans in a quest for a Super Bowl win after the San Francisco 49ers rallied back from a 17 point deficit in the second half and ended a dream for tight end Tony Gonzalez.

Although New Orleans Saints fans rejoiced when the Falcons failed to stage a comeback reminiscent of last week’s win over the Seattle Seahawks, you can’t help but feel for Gonzalez who will likely retire at the conclusion of this season.

The classy tight end gave an emotional post-game interview following the loss with his voice cracking and tears welling in his eyes as he expressed no regrets for coming back this season.

It was rumored at the end of last season that he was contemplating retirement but decided that he wanted to make a run for one more year and never wavered in his belief that the Falcons would get the playoff monkey off their backs.

Gonzalez almost mirrored Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis’ emotion after the victory last week weeping as the game ended.  People had doubted the legitimate shot the team had at advancing each week and Gonzalez would famously tell people to “get back on the bandwagon” after each win.

If he doesn’t retire, Gonzalez will be a free agent for the upcoming season and would be a very good pickup fo any team in need of a playmaking offensive weapon.  But after seeing him following the Falcons defeat today, it would be surprising if he did.

Tags: Atlanta Falcons San Francisco 49'ers Tony Gonzalez