It's not usually acceptable for 36-year-old men to cry after playing a game, but in the case of Tony Gonzalez, exceptions can be made.
The 16-year veteran shed tears of joy on Sunday when his Atlanta Falcons survived a wild contest with the Seattle Seahawks. After blowing a 20-point fourth-quarter lead, the Falcons hit a field goal with eight seconds left to win 30-28.
It was Gonzalez's first career playoff win, and the emotional roller coaster caused the future Hall of Famer to break down in tears. He cried in the arms of his teammates and coaches, as his lifetime of work finally paid off in the form of postseason success.
Naturally, the 247-pound Gonzalez was mocked around the Twitterverse. People lined up to take their cracks at Gonzalez's manhood, including former NHL player Chris Therien.
I think Tony Gonzalez is awesome. But you can't cry after winning a divisional playoff game, right?!?!— Chris Therien (@ctherien6) January 13, 2013
Normally I'd agree with Therien, but let's cut Gonzalez some slack.
Few people have poured their heart and soul into their craft like Gonzalez, who has accomplished almost everything in the NFL. The only thing missing from his résumé was playoff success, which likely would have tainted his otherwise perfect career.
After failing in five previous trips to the postseason, it looked like Gonzalez would come up short yet again. Despite delivering a tip-toe touchdown in the first quarter, it appeared he would be denied his first playoff victory in heartbreaking fashion.
Instead, Atlanta escaped with one of the most exciting wins in NFL history. It was the craziest finish of the 2013 playoffs, and Gonzalez finally achieved a goal that was 16-plus years in the making.
To make it even sweeter, he played a key role in the victory. He had six catches on the day, including a clutch reception that set up the game-winning field goal.
So, given the circumstances, let's ease up on Gonzalez. The man earned one good cry, and there's no need to send him some tissues and an Adele CD just yet.