Tony Gonzalez and the Pro Football Hall of Fame have already become synonymous, and the Falcons tight end hasn't even been on a ballot yet. Because he's still playing.
There's no question Gonzalez will be a Hall of Famer, but ESPN NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas explores how long it might take in a recent post.
I think most of us assume that Gonzalez is a slam-dunk to be a first-ballot entrant into the Hall of Fame, but Yasinskas points out a couple of trends that certainly work against him going in on his first try.
I'll try my best not to steal any of Pat's thunder, so I highly recommend you check out his post, but he writes if you take Shannon Sharpe for example, the challenges of Gonzalez making it as a first-ballot player can become a little more clear. At the time Sharpe retired, he was at the top of the tight end game.
Still, it took him two tries to get in. He'll be inducted in August.
Does that mean Gonzalez will have the same fate? Absolutely not. Yasinskas writes that Gonzalez should be a first-ballot hall-of-famer and, "Anything else would be flat-out wrong."
But the facts that there are only going to be eight tight ends in the Hall of Fame once Sharpe is inducted and kickers are the only position less represented in the Hall of Fame currently could be factors in when Gonzalez gets in.
Me, personally, I think it's a no-brainer. First-ballot all the way. Yasinskas thinks so, too. But the voters make the decision.
Today, you get to. Vote below.