Today, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL after a nine-year career.
With the closing of an outstanding NFL career full of conversation surrounding his amazing catches, Super Bowl rings, injuries, and off the field antics, it strikes a spark for a new conversation. This conversation is about Rob Gronkowski and his mold in Canton Ohio.
Hall of Fame vote holder, Sal Paolantonio stated, “He has to be in the first-ballot conversation. He has the numbers, but his big-game brilliance and dominance set him apart. We just put Tony Gonzalez in first ballot. Gronk, in my view, was more dominant.”
I agree completely and wholeheartedly with Sal. In the history of the NFL, there has never been a tight-end as dominant at Gronk. At the end of his career, he had 7,861 receiving yards, 521 receptions, and 79 touchdowns. Four of those seasons he had 1000+ yards receiving. Not only did he sit at the top in terms of receiving but he was an amazing blocker as well. He was everything every team looks for in a player on the field.
Now those numbers may not seem very exciting for someone who had a nine-year career and is having his name mentioned as a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and I’d agree with you from paper. However, you have to take into account that Gronkowski was introduced to the injury bug early in his career and never really lost it.
The list of injuries is extensive and would make you question why he maybe didn’t call it quits earlier. A list including but not limited to: Torn ACL, torn MCL, two concussions, two-time fractured forearm, and a back vertebrae fracture. Through all of this Rob Gronkowski still amounted the numbers he did and appeared in 2 Super Bowls with New England. Unfortunately, this caused him to miss a large number of games over his nine-year career, but yes, he is still first ballot.
The bottom line is that Rob Gronkowski was the most dominant offensive player every time he was on the field. He was next to unguardable at 6-foot-6 268 pounds, and when he did get the ball it was impossible to bring him down without a fight. It is no doubt that Rob Gronkowski was a fantastic tight-end for the entirety of his career the likes of which may not be seen again for a long time