Who is the best receiving tight end in the NFL? The prevailing wisdom is that either Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez deserves the distinction, but the metrics I compiled from the 2005 season for Scientific Football 2006 (available for preorder at www.TheFootballScientist.com) tell a different story.
I use three metrics to measure the pass-catching ability of a tight end (40 receptions to qualify). The first two are TYPCA (total yards per catchable attempt) and success percentage. The third metric is derived by multiplying TYPCA by the success percentage. This last metric combination provides the best overall balance between production and consistency and is the metric I used to identify the best receiving tight end.
For much of the 2005 season, Gates would have been the easy answer to this question. Through the first 11 weeks of the season, Gates averaged 9.3 TYPCA and posted a 74 percent success rate, which translated to a league-leading number.