Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez, who helped lead the Falcons to the NFC’s No. 1 seed and a NFC Championship Game appearance, has been selected as the 2013 Good Guy Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Gonzalez, the ninth Good Guy Award winner, is the first member of the Falcons to receive the honor from the PFWA and the first non-quarterback to be selected for the award since 2007.
The Good Guy Award is given to a NFL player for his qualities and professional style in helping pro football writers do their jobs. The award was first given by the PFWA in 2005.
Gonzalez, who had said during Falcons training camp that he was 95 percent sure he would retire after the 2012 season, had one of his best seasons at age 36 as the Falcons went 13-3 and won the NFC South. One of the NFL’s most popular players, Gonzalez caught a team-high 93 passes for 930 yards and eight touchdowns, earning his 13th Pro Bowl appearance. In Week 10, he had 11 receptions for 122 yards and two touchdowns at New Orleans as he became the first tight end in NFL history with 100 TD catches.
Gonzalez holds NFL tight-end records for career receptions (1,242), receiving yards (14,268), TD catches (103), 100-yard games (30) and 1,000-yard seasons (four).
In the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at home against Seattle, he finally tasted postseason success in his career as the Falcons beat the Seahawks 30-28. Gonzalez caught six passes for 51 yards including a first-quarter TD. His 19-yard catch of a Matt Ryan pass with 13 seconds to play set up a Matt Bryant 49-yard field goal that sent Atlanta to the NFC title game.
Gonzalez announced March 12, 2013 that he would return to the Falcons for his 17th NFL season.
“Throughout the season Tony Gonzalez was more than gracious with his time in dealing with the media,” said PFWA President D. Orlando Ledbetter, who covers the Falcons for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He was frank and open throughout about his plans for retirement and how he wanted to proceed. He exuded style and class throughout his 16th season in the league.”
ABOUT THE PFWA: The Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is the official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public. The PFWA is made up of accredited writers who cover the NFL and the 32 teams on a daily basis. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter, who covers the Atlanta Falcons, is the organization’s president for 2013-15. Follow the PFWA on Twitter at @PFWAwriters.
GOOD GUY AWARD WINNERS (To a NFL player for his qualities and professional style in helping the pro football writers do their job): 2005 – Jerome Bettis (Pittsburgh Steelers); 2006 – Tiki Barber (New York Giants); 2007 – LaDainian Tomlinson (San Diego Chargers); 2008 – Brett Favre (Green Bay Packers); 2009 – Kurt Warner (Arizona Cardinals); 2010 – Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints); 2011 – Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers); 2012 – Tim Tebow (Denver Broncos); 2013 – Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta Falcons).