FOXBOROUGH – With Mookie Betts, Patrice Bergeron, and Isaiah Thomas ranking as the best Boston Red Sox, Bruin, and Celtic of the decade, that means there is only one team left to represent from on the rankings. And if Rob Gronkowski is coming in at number two on the overall list, it is probably not too hard to guess who number one will be next week (but I'll keep you in suspense nonetheless).
But yes, this week is a celebration of Gronk, a hurricane of a player who tore through the NFL during the past decade and made a name for himself as the greatest tight end to ever play the game. It's hard to overstate just how dominant Gronk was compared to, not just every tight end in the game, but to every player in the game.
At six feet and six inches tall and over 250 pounds, Gronk was an unstoppable beast of a player who could drag six defenders for a twenty yard ride to the end zone. He was a matchup nightmare for opposing teams. He could not be stopped until the injuries piled up and addled him.
Drafted in 2010 and retired in 2019, this really could be defined as the Decade of Gronk in Boston. He led the league in receiving touchdowns in his sophomore 2011 season, won the 2014 Comeback Player of the Year Award, and was a Pro Bowler five times and an All-Pro selection four times. He was commemorated, not just for his elite receiving capabilities, but also for his stellar blocking.
Overall, Gronk was a key player for the Patriots and he played in five Super Bowls with the team, prevailing in three of them. Last season, he made the crucial goal line grab that set up New England's only touchdown of the Super Bowl. In his last game, Gronk gave the Patriots the win, essentially.
He racked up tons of NFL records during a short stint in the league, including the moment when he became the first tight end in the history of football to have three seasons with over ten touchdowns and over one thousand receiving yards. His blaze was quick through the NFL, but it will never be forgotten.
With 602 receptions for 9,024 yards and 92 total touchdowns, including in the post-season, Gronk left his mark on this decade with as much emphasis as a football being spiked into turf. The 2010s belonged to him and we will not see his like again in this league.