The final catch of Gronk's career ended up setting up the Super Bowl winning touchdown.
A few hours have passed since the news broke and I still can't believe it, even though it is a semi-expected move. It's a bummer and knowing it was likely coming doesn't make it any easier. I am sad to see one of my favorite athletes of all-time retire, and even with his fantastic career, there's still a huge "what if?" when it comes to #87 (and sometimes #69).
On a personal level, the timing of this announcement by Gronk is WILD. I was just talking about this very topic last night with my mom. I'm sorry guys, I feel like I'm partly to blame.
We went to the Patriots HOF at Patriot Place (mom's in town for an unexpected visit from Florida) to check out the exhibit and grab some dinner. During dinner she asked me what was up with Gronk and if he was gonna retire or not? I told her I thought he was going to, but since he hadn't announced anything yet I figured he was coming back. (boy was I wrong) I told her that I was almost positive the Patriots announced they were under the impression he was returning. Plus I always held onto hope that Gronk would stay until Brady retires.
24 hours later Rob Gronkowski is retired.
The news of this shouldn't come as a total shock. Gronk has been flirting with retirement for what feels like three years. His relationship with Belichick has seemed at times to be strained, and injuries have clearly taken their toll on him. I get why he's doing this. As much as it doesn't always feel like it 2011 was a very long time ago. He's taken an absolute beating. Gronk isn't the same guy anymore. Although in 2017 he showed that he was still an elite TE. 1st team All-Pro. This year there were flashes of his old self, but his role had significantly changed. He no longer was the focal point of the passing game. Gronk's ability to dominant at the line of scrimmage helped the Patriots shift to a more run heavy team and win Super Bowl LIII.
The writing has been on the wall for some time, and after this exchange with Belichick right after winning the Super Bowl it seemed like Gronk was good as gone one way or another.
When healthy there has never been a more dominating tight end in NFL history. He could block like a linemen, catch like a WR and run like a semi-truck. It was like early 2000's Shaq where defenders had different rules when covering him. You could get away with more against Gronk because he's so big and dominating. I can vividly remember in the Edelman pass game against the Ravens in the 2014 playoffs there was a third down Gronk's arm-shield was getting blasted before a pass but it wasn't called cause you basically could do whatever you wanted to Gronk to try to stop him.
âWhether he was catching touchdowns, throwin dudes out the club, or spiking footballs so hard that Tom Brady was accused of deflating them, Gronk was an absolute delight to watch. I feel like I'm doing him a disservice with this blog, but there will never be another Gronk (even though there are like 8 other Gronks)
Unfortunately for Gronk as the years went by, the injuries started piling up. Actually it started before he was even a a Patriot as he missed his final season at the University of Arizona due to a back injury.
His 2011 season is IMO the greatest overall season a tight end has ever had. 90 receptions for 1327 yards and 18 total touchdowns.
I still can't fucking believe it's actually over. I need more time to truly marinate the magnitude of this and give Gronk the proper farewell blog he deserves. I'll get back to you in 3 weeks.
âP.S. I'm CRYING