The Force of Gronk
~ Amy Lignor
When you think of the best NFL tight ends in the business – past or present – there are a few names that will spring to mind. Yet no one seems to be more loved by their fans, their rivals’ fans, their team members, and even the sinister experts on television who constantly pick apart teams – than Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots.
This is a man who can even claim a website called “Gronk Nation” with a bevy of supporters that are absolutely thrilled that he is 100% back in the game after injury. However, there’s no one happier than QB Tom Brady, seeing as that Gronk is his main target at all times.
Recently, as we all know, the beloved Manning and the unbeatable Denver Broncos fell to Brady in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Yes, Brady looked as good or even better than he did years back when he took his team to the Super Bowl (3 times, by the way), but it is very possible he looked supremely good against the Broncos because the force of Gronk was back.
This guy is the NFL Terminator. A huge target, to say the least, Gronk has a dynamic ability to reach out and grab Brady’s wayward throws with one hand and run over the other team to sprint into the end zone as easily as if he’s going to the gym. He barely ever misses, and he is one opponent that defenses do not like to cover. Can he be stopped? Sure. Of course. Any team with a good defensive coach could most likely figure out a way to do just that. Fortunately for the Patriots, no one yet has.
His touchdown celebration, the “Gronk Spike” is still remembered to this day. And it was an absolute nightmare when he was hurt. After all, you are talking about a player who, in just his second season in the NFL, set the single-season record for touchdowns by a tight end. Adding up his first three season, Gronk caught 38 touchdowns blowing any other tight end out of the water. But devastation came on December 8, 2013 making Patriots fans (as well as Tom Brady) absolutely sick. Suffering a right knee injury after taking a direct hit from T.J. Ward, Gronk tore his ACL and MCL, ending his 2013 season in the blink of an eye.
Brady was (whether experts want to accept this fact or not) proclaimed dead by these same experts near the very beginning of this season. He was called old, washed-up, done with the game, and on his way out. All football fans – even Patriots’ haters – knew this was a ridiculous statement. The one thing Brady was missing was the “Gronk Effect.” Number 87 was and is necessary for the Patriots to kick butt. Without his presence the offensive line looked like they were college hopefuls out there on the gridiron. Their excitement for the game seemed to be drained, as if they were not on the team that most people refer to as the number one team in the AFC. (Yes, Peyton Manning and the Broncos are talked about all the time, but after the smack-down last week, Brady and the Patriots have definitely taken the number one spot back).
It is possible Gronk looks so good now because the decisions of the ‘higher-ups’ in the Patriots world were absolutely right. They were very
cautious with Gronk when the season began, holding him back, keeping him off the field and allowing him limited reps. Perhaps they knew ahead of time that a 100% healthy Gronk would get them to the AFC Championship Game this year and there was NO way they were going to mess up that chance. As things look right this second, the coaches were absolutely right.
This IS a Gronk Nation. Rob Gronkowski brings something to the football field that others simply do not. Younger and newer players than him
should be more excited, yet they don’t look like it whatsoever. And QB’s younger than Brady look like all they want to do is take the money and run. Or perhaps try out for baseball because they simply check out when they’re on the football field. (Not calling out any names here, but I think Chicago knows what I mean).
In the end, it may have taken a while: the coaches may have been wary and Brady may have seemed slightly off his game, BUT from all the fans and rivals of the Patriots, the game of football is a whole lot more fun now that Gronk is back on the field and feeling great!