The 2012 season of the NFL was a fun one to watch. Adrian Peterson was 9 yards short of the single season rushing record. Calvin Johnson broke the single season receiving record. Second year defensive end, J.J. Watt was two sacks short of the single season sack record.
It was an exciting season, which saw many records challenged and broken. Our very own Jason Witten broke a couple of records this season, however most fans didn’t realize this. This year Witten had 110 receptions, which broke Tony Gonzalez’s single season reception record by a tight end. In addition, Witten also had his 4th 1000 yard season, which ties Tony Gonzalez’s for most 1000 yard seasons by a tight end. In week 8, against the Giants, Witten had 18 receptions which broke the single game reception record by a tight end. Finally, Witten broke a Cowboy’s record for most career receptions.
Dec 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) runs after a catch in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Cowboys Stadium. The Saints beat the Cowboys 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Witten had quite the season, yet not many people noticed. Why is this? One reason is because Witten has often been overshadowed. Most people will acknowledge that Witten is a great player, and he is always seen as one of the top tight ends in the league, but never the best.
For most of his career, Witten has been overshadowed by other great tight ends. Witten played in an era where there were many other Hall of Fame tight ends. Early on in his career, Witten often had to compete with Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates. Presently, Witten has to compete with Rob Gronkowski, Vernon Davis, Jimmy Graham, and even Tony Gonzalez still.
In addition to taking a back seat to other tight ends, Witten is simply not a flashy player. When you look at Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates, or Vernon Davis, they are huge, fast, and athletic. Witten on the other hand is a big guy, but he’s not really fast or athletic. If anything, he’s quite the opposite. When I watch Witten, he’s probably one of the slowest players on the field. When he has the ball in his hand, I never expect him to take it the distance. It’s almost a guarantee that he’ll be caught from behind.
However to make up for his lack of speed, Witten can make up for it through other ways. Despite not having ideal speed, Witten is a master of getting separation by using his deceptively quick route running skills. Witten also has solid hands and will catch most balls thrown his way. While he may not be a flashy playmaker, Witten contributes in other ways. He moves the chains and provides Tony Romo with a reliable target every play. In addition, he’s also one of the best blocking tight end in the league.
Fans are in love with the playmakers. Despite Witten leading all tight ends in receptions and yards this season, he is still put behind the likes of more exciting playmaking tight ends such as Rob Gronkowski, or Jimmy Graham. Playmakers are the ones that get the spotlight. Despite this, Witten still manages to earn awards and recognition for his play. It speaks volume about what kind of player he is.
The Dallas Cowboys often have the spotlight on them. However, for Witten he always seems to fly under the radar when it comes to his position. Without a doubt, Witten will still get inducted into the Hall of Fame. Still it is a shame that Witten’s dominance will always be overshadowed.