The New England Patriots have made it to the Superbowl 4 times in the last 6 years, and they’ve won two of those championships. There are many that hate on the team, and I mean, you can understand why. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have, or haven’t had great talent over the years. Which is why I want to talk about Rob Gronkowski. More specifically, how does he stack up against himself over his career? Tom Brady thinks that he’s had a lot of growth, indicating, “I think everything about him is what you’re looking for in a player, in a teammate. Plays well in the biggest moments. I’ve watched him develop from when he first got here to now and seen a lot of growth.”
If we’re looking at it from a pass-catching perspective, then Gronkowski’s stats are really good. In fact, they align with the likes of Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Jason Witten over that same time span. What is an incredibly interesting fact is how he ranks against other tight ends who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Putting Gronkowski at Number One against, Mike Ditka (1988), John Mackey (1992), Jackie Smith (1994), Kellen Winslow (1995), Ozzie Newsome (1999), Dave Casper (2002), Charlie Sanders (2007) and Shannon Sharpe (2011).
Depending on how much longer Gronkowski plays, he could threaten Gates’ record for most career touchdown receptions by a tight end. Gates’ record is 114, but Gronkowski is entering the 2018 season with 76. He could also break a three-way tie with Gonzalez and Witten to become the first tight end in NFL history to have five seasons with 1,000 receiving yards. These are pretty incredible accomplishments, aren’t they?
While I’d like to stop the compliments there, because that seems like enough, Gronkowski has something else going for him. Sure, he’s perceived to be a bit of a party boy, and even a bit dimwitted, but we need to give him some credit. Namely for the fact that he hasn’t spent a penny of his contract money from last season. Nor has he touched any of his NFL earnings, including the six-year $54 million contract he signed back in 2012. Can you even imagine having that kind of money and not spending it? I surely can’t. Why I think that this should be recognized as well is that football players are known for living outside of their means.
Gronkowski only spends the money that he earns from endorsement deals with brands like Dunkin Donuts, Nike, and BodyArmor sports drink. He’s been investing the money he gets from the Patriots, and he says he’s happy with the results. The other reason why this is exceptional is that careers in the NFL may only last a couple of years, and often players blow through that money before their career is over. Sure, it’s not any kind of record in terms of his athletic abilities, but it is kind of amazing, don’t you think? Regardless, Gronkowski is not someone to be underestimated. Sure, he comes across like a party-boy, but as we can see on the field, there’s more to his abilities than just crushing beer cans.