Gonzalez: Dwayne Rudd’s Helmet Throw is a “Fond Memory”

Current Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez has only played against the Cleveland Browns three times in his 13-year career.  The most recent contest took place in 2006 where Gonzalez caught nine passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns.  One would think that this matchup would be among the most memorable for the 37-year old, but it was the Browns that would end up winning the game in question, 31-28 in overtime.

But just four years earlier, things were a bit different; Gonzalez was held to just 87 yards and a touchdown on five catches.  But the Chiefs would ultimately be victorious in what was not one of the best moments in Cleveland football.  A huge emotional letdown for the Browns and the fans, but on the flip side of that transaction was the sure-fire Hall of Fame tight end.

“It’s one of my fondest memories,” said Gonzalez today.  “We thought the game was over,”  Unfortunately for his part because Dwayne’s a good due and I consider him a friend.”

One week season after bottles were banned at Cleveland Browns Stadium, linebacker Dwayne Rudd’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty – one that was due to an ill-timed helmet toss in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter – allowed the Chiefs’ Morten Andersen to chip in a 30-yard field goal for a one-point win.

The Chiefs put up 23 points in the fourth quarter, a game which Butch Davis would later claim made him “sick,” and one that likely had fans wishing they had not wasted all of their bottles on the Jacksonville game that took place seven days one year prior.

At the time, Gonzalez called the win “luck.”  Now, it’s a lasting memory that he’ll never forget.

“It was definitely a memorable experience,” said Gonzalez.  “It was fun.”

  • Jackson

    That was the season opener, the J-Ville game was definitely not before that…

  • MrCleaveland


    You’re right. That was the opener.

    Mention of the Jacksonville game reminds me of how glad I am that we don’t have Quincy Morgan anymore, even though he was probably better than anyone we have now.

  • humboldt

    Jacksonville game was December 2001

  • Chris

    Well technically, that was the first regular season home game played after the bottle throwing incident. The bottle throwing happened the season before though.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    Chris is thinking what I was – was consecutive home games, in haste, assumed they were a week apart. Thanks, guys.

  • JK

    That was absolutly sickening.

  • Chuck

    I was at that game and it was indeed sickening….

  • Lyon

    That’s what I was thinking jackson…. remember being so happy that our season would start off well… then BAM!! we lose

    My day got a little sadder remembering this game :(

  • Mark

    What’s going on at WFNY? This week has been one terrible trip down memory lane (Rudd’s helmet toss, the Forgotten Moments piece, Metcalf videos re-enforcing how bad we are now). What’s next? Are you going to post a story on how my dog died?

  • Harv 21

    @2: Kevin Johnson – Quincy Morgan – Dennis Northcutt- Travis Wilson -BraylonEssence -Mo Mass… How did we manage to not just stumble into one excellent receiver while using high picks in 12 drafts.

    Early happy thought on next game: our lack of productive wide receivers COMPLETELY NEUTRALIZES Falcons’ great cornerbacks. In other words, they can’t shut down the part of an offense that doesn’t exist. Ha! Advantage: Browns.

  • TSR3000

    I was at that game. Myself and 3 non-Browns fans drove down at 3am from college and fond tix. They made laughed at me for days after that.

    We would have had 10 wins that year if I am not mistaken.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    Mark – don’t forget the digital grab of “The Shot” in the 2K11 piece

  • http://www.60bpm.com/ Robbie

    That was the first time I remember going into the season thinking one half of the team (defense) was a lock, while the other (offense) was a real question mark… and being completely WRONG! Seems that’s the case every year since then.

    Anyone who watched that 30 in 30 “4 days in October” get a kick out of the scene from Game 6 where the classy Yankee fans tossed bottles and other refuse on the field when A-Rod was (correctly) called-out for knocking the ball out of Arroyo’s glove? At least Cleveland fans reserve doing crazy stuff like that when they’ve been truly wronged, not just when things not go their way.

    If Cleveland fans did something crazy every time something simply didn’t go our way… there probably wouldn’t be anything left in NEO but a big hole in the ground. (Yeah, I’m teeing that up for someone.)

  • Sactorious

    What is more sickening, the helmet toss or the editing job done prior to this being posted?

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    “What is more sickening, the helmet toss or the editing job done prior to this being posted?”

    A: C) Commenting about it two hours later

  • C-Bus Kevin

    I was at that game. Imagine being surrounded by 73,000 people that just found out the dog ate their winning lotto ticket. People were so enraged leaving the stadium. I was worried about getting out of there safely. I also remember my friend’s dad telling another motorist leaving the game to ‘f— himself’.

    Appropriately enough, it was a win against Gonzalez’ current team, the Falcons, that put the Browns in the playoffs that year…only to lose to Pittsburgh. Why couldn’t Northcutt have just caught that pass!?!?!?!

  • sleepless in cincinnati

    I was at that game. A moment in time I will never forget. For some reason I happened to be watching Rudd and saw the helmet toss. Everyone around me was jumping for joy as they thought the game was over.

    These are the lasting memories our current version of the browns have given us. Thanks alot Michael White/City of Cleveland council members. The Browns should have been the first team to get a new stadium.

    For the love of god…win some games already and let’s break the hearts of fans from some other teams!

  • Joseph

    That 2002 season was one wild season in good and bad ways though.. talk about a crazy roller coaster.

    I see your Dwayne Rudd and raise you a “Run, William, Run!”

  • C-Bus Kevin

    By the way…I looked up a highlight package of the Rudd game on youtube. Kelly Holcomb looked pretty good that day. In fact, watching Holcomb complete some great passes makes me realize how poor the quarterbacking has been since the “Couch or Holcomb” controversy.

    Who knew it would get worse? Here’s the video.


  • MallaLubba

    This may be an odd question but is the person running the visitting team’s conference calls being relegated to someone local to that team? I thought our local media was given access to the conference calls but lately it sounds like somone else is doing it. Is that just a ClevelandBrowns.com thing?

  • http://www.redright88.com Titus Pullo

    I know strange things happen in other towns, but it sure seems like these types of things only seem to happen here in Cleveland.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    “Is that just a ClevelandBrowns.com thing?”

    Definitely a fair question – I’ve only heard two different people running these this season. They’re not open lines, it’s just a listen only deal.

  • MallaLubba

    @Scott: I see. I went back and listened to a few. It sounds like, on rare occasions, the usual locals are getting in there but that most of the time someone is left to just “read” the questions. Mind you, I noticed that there were a couple times where the “reader” had to think on her feet and follow up to get an answer to an unanswered question which was done very well. I guess I just don’t want to see reporters loose one more conduit of gathering information.

  • boogeyman

    I was at that game and saw Rudd chuck his brainless protection at least 20 yards behind the actual play. One of the all time bonehead mistakes for sure.

  • Lauren

    who proofreads this?? I just found like four mistakes. *Chiefs, *ultimately, *Dwayne’s, *dude, *waning, *Chiefs (yes twice). And what’s with the strikethroughs?? Seriously, I can’t even begin to make sense of this article!!

  • Lauren

    my bad, six mistakes