What a wild finish yesterday. For now, though, I want to set aside “the rule” and focus on the GOAT. The greatest player ever to strap up and take the field. I, of course, am talking about Rob Gronkowski.
In the wake of yesterday’s dominant performance, the consensus among national writers seems to be, he’s the best TE of all time. But that take is lukewarm at best…Le Cap only does scalding takes. He’s so far ahead of all other TE’s, that he’s actually the Greatest Football player of all time.
The QB position is, by leaps and bounds, the most important position on the field. So therefore, the best ever at that position would be, almost by default, the best player ever. In many ways, I agree with that.
But if you want to talk about sheer skill level and dominance relative to their peers, I would rank Gronkowski as the greatest football player of all time. Jerry Rice is the only other player in the discussion for me.
Almost since he first set foot on an NFL field, Gronkowski has been the best TE in the game; the last few years have just been about catching up to the best of all time. On that list, there are many prolific receivers, and many hard-nosed, old-school ends…but none of combined the skill-sets the way Gronk has.
Since I don’t grade out film, and there aren’t a lot of reliable “Stats” for blocking, let’s just assume the consensus opinion is true- that Gronk is a high-level blocker at the position- and focus on the receiving end.
In his 8 seasons, Gronk has put up FIVE seasons with double-digit TD’s, a feat neither Antonio Gates (4), nor Tony Gonzalez (3) have accomplished, even with much longer careers. Gronkowski is also the fastest TE in history to 70 Rec TD’s, and the 5th fastest among ALL players.
Gronk also has 4 1,000+ yard seasons in his 8 year career, which matches Gonzalez’ mark, set over 17 years. And then there is this stat, speaking to his recent dominance:
That is insane…this guy was the best TE in football 5 years ago…and he’s only getting better.
If the stats don’t make the case on their own- SPOILER ALERT, THEY DO- Gronkowski scores even better in the “eye-ball test” department.
He’s too big, strong, and fast for anyone to reasonably expect to stop him. It’s to the point where he is clearly officiated differently than other players; he’s essentially the Lebron of football. The occasions where a team has been able to limit his impact are few and far between.
Yesterday’s 4th quarter was a perfect microcosm of his career. Almost any time TB needs a big 3rd down conversion or score, he goes to Gronk, and even though the entire stadium knows it’s coming….they make the play. The fact that Gronkowski has been so successful with that target on his back is further proof of his greatness.