Top 10 moments from Gronk’s career

In lieu of Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, I thought that it would be fun to take a look at some of his most memorable moments (both on and off the field) as a member of the Patriots.

1. 46-yard touchdown against the Bears (Week 8, 2014)

During this jaw-dropping play, Gronk truly showed why some of his teammates referred to him as ‘Beast Mode’, as he plowed his way through the hapless Bears’ defense en route to a 46-yard score.

2. Clutch catches against the Broncos (2016 AFC Championship Game)

Although the Broncos ultimately emerged victorious, Gronk almost carried the Patriots to Super Bowl 50 by himself, as he reeled in two clutch catches on fourth down, including a touchdown, which put the Pats in position to try a two-point conversion to tie the game (which would end up unsuccessful).

3. Throwing Sergio Brown ‘out of the club’ (Week 11, 2014)

This game against the Colts was very one-sided, as the Pats easily won 42-20. However, it did gain a lot of attention due to Gronk’s dedication towards finishing off a block on Colts safety Sergio Brown, long after the Pats had scored a rushing touchdown. As Gronk later told NBC’s Cris Collinsworth, Brown had been chirping throughout the game, which led the 6-foot-6 behemoth to toss the overmatched safety ‘out of the club’.

4. Sinking the Steelers at Heinz Field (Week 15, 2017)

For most of this contest, the Patriots’ offense was listless, and required a win against the Steelers in order to have a chance of securing the AFC’s #1 seed. When the Pats needed a spark, Gronk was there to provide it, as he caught 3 catches for 69 yards, along with a two-point conversion that helped the Pats escape Heinz Field with a win.

5. Touchdown catch in Super Bowl XLIX

Gronk had 6 catches for 68 yards during the Patriots’ victory against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, with his major highlight being this 22-yard touchdown, where he easily beat Seattle’s single-coverage en route to a Super Gronk Spike.

6. “Yo soy fiesta” (January 2012)

Nothing summed up Gronk’s pure goofiness more than this clip from an ESPN Deportes interview, where he humorously said, “Yo soy fiesta”, in reference to his love for partying.

7. Stealing Brady’s Super Bowl LI jersey at Fenway Park (April 2017)

One of the major postgame stories from the Pats’ dramatic win in Super Bowl LI was the mystery surrounding Tom Brady’s missing jersey. The jersey was ultimately recovered in Mexico, and Brady brought it to Fenway Park in April 2017 when the Red Sox were honoring the Super Bowl champs. Gronk snatched the jersey from Brady, which caused TB12 to chase him down and playfully tackle him on the diamond.

8. His last catch (Super Bowl LIII)

For most of the 2018 season, Gronk was not at his best, due to the lingering effects of multiple injuries. However, he was clutch when the team needed him in the playoffs, as evidenced by the last catch of his career, which was a 29-yard seam route in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIII that put the Patriots in position to take the lead, and finish off the Rams.

9. Awe-inspiring touchdown against the Chiefs (Week 11, 2011)

During the 2011 season, Gronk continued to show the rest of the NFL that he was one of the league’s premier tight ends. In Week 11 against the Chiefs, Gronk recorded his 20th career touchdown on a play that saw him land awkwardly on his neck as he plunged towards the end zone. Plays like this showcase the determination he brought week after week whenever the Patriots needed him.

10. British-inspired Gronk Spike (Week 8, 2012)

During a lopsided Patriots victory against the Rams at London’s Wembley Stadium, Gronk took inspiration from Buckingham Palace’s Changing of the Guard in order to craft a unique touchdown celebration.

Goodbye Gronk!

After weeks of speculation, Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from football via an Instagram post.

It’s hard to deny the impact Gronk had on the Patriots’ offense ever since he entered the league in 2010, as the 6-foot-6 tight end was a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses, requiring double-teams that provided opportunities for other New England playmakers to get open. Most importantly, Gronk was a hybrid of the traditional run-blocking tight end and a large receiver, which made him an even bigger headache for defenses, as his presence on the field produced ample running room for the Patriots’ running backs. Unlike contemporaries such as Travis Kelce or Jimmy Graham, Gronk was never afraid of being physical as both a blocker and a receiver, which truly separated him from other modern tight ends. 

Off the field, Gronk earned himself a reputation of a fun-loving frat boy, due to his frequent partying and his boisterous demeanor, but as members of the Patriots organization will tell you, he was always laser focused when it came to football, with a stringent emphasis on maintaining a proper diet and fitness regimen. At the same time, he never took football too seriously, as evidenced by his touchdown celebrations, which were always finished off with a thunderous Gronk Spike.

Gronk’s career was limited by a number of injuries, such as a broken forearm (which made him start to wear the brace on his arm), torn ACL, and a herniated disk in his back. Gronk missed most of the 2012 and 2013 seasons due to injuries, but returned with a bang in 2014, as he helped the Pats win Super Bowl XLIX. Gronk missed the latter half of the 2016 season due to a back injury, and was forced to sit out during the Pats’ historic comeback in Super Bowl LI. Gronk came back in 2017, and was his normal self during a season that featured an appearance in Super Bowl LII. Following the loss to the Eagles, Gronk contemplated retirement, but ultimately returned to the team. However, he was never the same during the 2018 season, and missed a number of games due to ankle and back injuries. Although he faltered as a playmaker, Gronk’s skills as a blocker never diminished, as he helped the Pats transition into a dominant rushing offense. He was at his best during the playoffs, as he began to show flashes of his old self during the AFC Championship Game, with a number of clutch catches that helped the Pats put away the Chiefs. In Super Bowl LIII, Gronk suffered a quad injury, but came through when the team needed him. He had two catches for 47 yards on the Pats’ lone touchdown drive, including an incredible seam route that put the Pats in position to break through and ultimately win the game.

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(Photo via Getty Images)

The future Hall of Famer finishes his 9-year career with these incredible statistics and accomplishments:

  • 521 receptions for 7,860 yards and 79 touchdowns
  • 3-time Super Bowl champion (XLIX, LI, LIII)
  • 5-time Pro Bowler
  • 4-time First-team All-Pro (2011, 2014, 2015, 2017)
  • NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2014)

It will be interesting to see how the Patriots move forward, as replacing Rob Gronkowski will not be easy. I believe that the Pats will take a few tight ends during April’s draft, whether it be in the first round, or later on in the draft. Draft analysts have linked the Pats to Iowa’s dominant duo of T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant, and Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr., with all three players being dynamic playmakers. However, Hockenson stands out due to his ability to run-block efficiently. If the Patriots are interested in drafting Hockenson, they will likely need to move up in the first round, as he probably won’t make it past the first 15 picks.

Rob Gronkowski may be retiring, but we will likely still see a lot of him in the coming years, as there have been numerous reports of him transitioning into a television or movie career.

Patriots Nation will miss you Gronk!

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(GIF via GIPHY)

You just got Moss’d!: Looking back at Randy Moss’ time in New England

Randy Moss was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, which was a fitting end for his illustrious career, during which he totaled 986 catches for 15292 yards and 156 touchdowns.

To the mass majority of NFL fans, Moss will be remembered for his two stints in Minnesota, but for Patriots’ fans, we will always look back at his stay in New England from 2007 to 2010.

Moss was dealt to the Pats in 2007 from Oakland in exchange for a fourth-round pick, and he quickly reestablished himself as a force to be reckoned with in his first game as a Patriot, when he beat three Jets’ defenders to score a long touchdown. Moss’ first season in New England was record-breaking as he scored 23 touchdowns (the most by any player in one season in NFL history), as he helped the Patriots accomplish the first perfect regular season in the modern NFL. I can still remember watching him break the record against the New York Giants in Week 17. A few plays prior to the record breaking one, TB12 attempted to find Moss on a deep ball down the sideline, but it fell incomplete. The Pats went back to that play, which resulted in Moss’ record-breaking 23rd touchdown, along with Brady’s record-breaking 50th touchdown. Moss and the 18-0 Patriots would eventually reach Super Bowl XLII, where they played the Giants once again. Patriots’ fans can probably remember the joy they felt when Moss scored a touchdown with 2:45 left in the game to give the Pats a 14-10 lead, and the misery they felt when Tom Brady’s last ditch Hail Mary bounced harmlessly off of Moss’ hands to end the Patriots’ hopes at accomplishing a perfect season. 

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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Moss continued to be efficient during the 2008-09 season, despite playing without Tom Brady who suffered a season-ending injury during the Patriots’ Week 1 victory against the Kansas City Chiefs. One of Moss’ highlights from that season was an awe-inspiring catch in the corner of the end zone to force overtime against the Jets.

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(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

During the 2009-10 season, Moss returned to prime form with the return of Tom Brady, with the season opener setting the tone for the rest of the season as he caught a career high 12 catches for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 25-24 comeback victory against the Buffalo Bills. One of the moments I remember from his 2009 season was when he went quiet against the Carolina Panthers in Week 14, as he only caught 1 catch for 16 yards, which led Panthers CB Chris Gamble to question his effort. Moss recovered from that game during the Pats’ Week 15 win against the Bills, as he caught 5 catches for 70 yards and 1 touchdown. I was able to witness one of his best games of the season in person, which was Week 16 against the Jacksonville Jaguars on December 27, 2009. Moss didn’t have an exorbitant amount of yards, as he caught 4 catches for 45 yards, but he did have 3 touchdowns to help lead the Pats to a dominant 35-7 win and another AFC East title. The Jacksonville game also featured Moss having a hilarious exchange with a fan wearing a Randy Moss mask in the stands.

Moss spent very little time in New England during the 2010-11 season (only 2 weeks), as he was sent back to the Vikings for a third-round pick, due to his reported clashes with Patriots’ management and coaches. However, he did have one jaw-dropping highlight from that season, which was when he blew by All-Pro CB Darrelle Revis and snagged a pass from Brady with one hand in the end zone in an eventual Week 2 loss to the Jets. 

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(Photo by Chad Finn/Boston.com)

To sum up Randy Moss’ tenure with the Patriots, I think that the phrase ‘missed potential’ is absolutely on point. His first season with the team showed the rest of the league what they were capable of doing on the offensive side of the ball, but injuries destroyed the Patriots’ chances of competing for a Super Bowl in 2008 and 2009, respectively. The Patriots lost Tom Brady for the 2008 season due to a knee injury, but were still able to go 11-5 with backup QB Matt Cassel at the helm. However, they missed the playoffs due to a tiebreaker with the Miami Dolphins. It’s hard to imagine the same scenario occurring if Brady plays the 2008 season, as he would have likely been able to deliver 1 to 2 more wins, which would have allowed them to compete in the postseason. In 2009, the Patriots entered the playoffs without Moss’ fellow receiver, Wes Welker, which made it hard for the offense to operate without Welker attracting defenders across the middle of the field. This led to a crushing 33-14 loss against the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card Round. 

Thanks for the memories, Randy!

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(Photo by WCVB)