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)