Ladies and Gentlemen, Let’s all take a moment to simply mourn the game of football. It will continue, but it will never be truly the same. You see for me this one personally hurt like a bitch. Like that deep down pain that just hits you deep in the gut but goes even further. There I was, at a little tavern down the street from my apartment, enjoying a nice delirium (highly recommend, very good beer), watching March Madness like a normal human. When out of nowhere my phone buzzes (I have Gronk’s notifications turned on because I am the ultimate Gronk fan boy) and I read the post on Instagram. Now, I am not really too emotional about much, but I would be lying to y’all if I said I didn’t tear up. And I would be lying to y’all even more if I said that the fact that Africa by Toto playing in the background didn’t lead me to tear up even more. And I would be considered an absolute fraud if the alcohol I was partaking in didn’t effect the moment even more. But my heart was truly broken. Rob Gronkowski, one of the best Wide Receivers to ever play football (yes wide receiver) is calling it a career. Now I will get off my soapbox and stop crying long enough to take a second to reflect on the GOAT of Tight End’s career.
Mr. Robert Gronkowski dealt with injuries throughout his career. Fair. But guess what… in a career that was cut in half, HE STILL PRODUCED MORE THAN ANYONE.
- Pro Football Focus (the football authority on the internet (so the world)) gave Tight End Season Player Scores for every year, and the Top 7 seasons as rated by PFF since 2010 were all seasons by none other than the Patriots number 87. That means that my dude Gronk, in the past 9 years, has had 7 years where he was ranked the best at his position in football. Let me go back to what I said a paragraph ago… HE ONLY PLAYED 16 GAMES IN ONE SEASON. That means this guy; no guy is an insult to Gronk… That means this LEGEND only played one full regular season and still had 7 of the last 9 Top rated Tight End seasons. WTF do you even say to that. Oh you want more? Alright.
- The receiver who for the last decade has been said to be one of the best receiver’s ever for a Super Bowl winning quarterback and has missed 6 games since 2011 has 74 touchdowns this decade. This receiver is named Antonio Brown. Regardless of what you say about him, he is very good at football. 74 touchdowns is a lot, but it is the second most receiving touchdowns this decade… 5 less than Gronk’s 79 touchdowns this decade, which leads ALL pass catchers.
- The 3 Time Super Bowl winning Tight End was the most dominant Tight End in postseason history posting stats in categories that topped the position’s history. Gronk played 16 postseason games where he had 81 catches for 1163 yards and 12 touchdowns. Once again LEADING ALL TIGHT ENDS EVER.
- The man has renamed the spike (one of the oldest celebrations in football history) after his own name. Try to spike anything without someone saying Gronk Spike. I dare you.
I can go on and on but why would I want to bore you and continue to shove truths down your throats. It is simple Gronk was simply the hardest matchup any team has ever seen. At 6’6″ 265, the man ran a 4.68 and oh I don’t know had A SEVEN FOOT WINGSPAN. For those of you who can’t translate that, imagine having at most 3 people anywhere from 8 to 3 inches shorter and 60 pounds smaller trying to stop a guy with a SEVEN FOOT WINGSPAN. Oh but what are you saying, “with the 60 pound difference, they should be much faster right?” Yeah, no. Go to Hell. They DB’s they have going against him will beat him by a step or two, but on the jump ball (in this one scenario) that’s going up, GRONK CAN BULLY THESE CHILDREN DOWN BECAUSE HE HAS 60 POUNDS OF MUSCLE ON THESE GROWN ASS MEN (the aforementioned Children). Oh not every ball is a jump ball? Well you got me there, too bad this matchup nightmare is also one of the greatest route runners to play the game. The dude could cut on a dime and get open underneath no matter what the case. Imagine bracing for impact from a dude 60 DAMN pounds bigger than you just to have him change direction and cut to a 90 degree angle and then accelerate to his 2.68 20 yard split. The big man can move. And now for the Hot Takey finish to this blog… Gronk leaves this game not only as the best Tight End to ever play the game, but also as one of the 5 best Receivers to ever play the game. Name a better matchup nightmare. Moss, Rice, Megatron, Owens and Gronk maybe in that order. Maybe not, who’s to say.
Oh and he has by far the best highlight tape I have ever seen.
So coming from me, quite possibly the biggest Gronk stan ever. Thanks for making the game amazing, you will be missed but will always be a true legend and one of the best to ever do it.
-Grant Caravelli @GrantCaravelli