Hi! Did you know that Antonio Gates played college basketball at Kent State, and didn't play any college football at all before signing with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent?
Of course you did, because it gets brought up every 5 minutes of every Chargers game you've watched over the last 13 seasons. It regularly gets brought up during the NCAA Tournament as well, so if you haven't seen it yet, brace yourself.
However, that's not why we're here. That's just a flashy title to throw off the people that don't read the actual articles themselves. (Hello, everyone who reads the articles! We love you!)
This morning I wanted to talk more about this recent fad of saying that Antonio Gates is not a Hall of Famer. Literally the only way this stance makes any sense is if you take such a hard line against a positive PED test that you are not willing to include anyone who has every had one.
Outside of that, Gates has the credentials. Let's go through them.
- Only two Tight Ends have more receiving yards than Gates (Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten)
- Only two Tight Ends have more receptions than Gates (Gonzalez and Witten)
- Only two Tight Ends have more targets than Gates (Gonzalez and Witten)
- Only one Tight End has more touchdown catches than Gates (Gonzalez)
When comparing Gates to the other guys around him, it's worth noting that pretty much all of them were drafted and expected to be something.
Tony Gonzalez was a 1st round pick. Jason Witten was a 3rd round pick. Shannon Sharpe, who has been the loudest critic of Antonio Gates and is in the Hall of Fame despite not having stats as good as Gates', is about as close as you can get to Gates because he was a 7th round pick (back when there were 12 rounds).
Either way, it's patently absurd to say that one of the three best pass-catching Tight Ends in the modern era shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame. He should be, and I'm going to go back to calling him "future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates".