At the tight end position, New England hasn't had a legitimate force since Ben Coates. The former All-Pro and my favorite player ever behind the aforementioned Brady doesn't look he'll have his number retired any time soon.
Yessir, there's a new 87 in town! In Nuke LaLoosh fashion, Gronk has announced his presence with authority.
It began on draft day with an impassioned huddle after hearing his name called. Chants of "GRONK! GRONK! GRONK!" filled the room, and visions of the same huddle forming in the end zone filled the heads of Patriots fans—a vision that came to fruition twice tonight.
The 6'6", 264-lb. man-child has taken that enthusiasm and testosterone onto the field and proven to be an unstoppable force.
He's the same kind of unguardable matchup nightmare that Coates was, except he's even bigger. He uses his massive frame to shield defenders and engulf the football, overpower defensive backs, and fight through traffic across the middle.
In a previous article I called him a freight train with hands. The biggest difference is he doesn't derail after a collision. He absorbs contact and keeps chuggin' along.
There was no better example tonight than his first touchdown, in which he caught the ball at the eight-yard line and was immediately met by linebacker James Laurinaitis.
With the former Ohio State standout firmly clenching his ankle, Gronkowski managed to keep his balance and proceeded to drag the helpless linebacker another four yards with a series of one-legged hops before plunging into the end zone.
Imagine an old-world pillager who'd been shackled to a ball and chain and then made to run a potato sack race, and somehow still won. That was Gronk.
His second score was more conventional. He simply towered over the defenders as Brady threw high, and he reached up and grabbed it. Impossible to defend—just like Gronk's "wild thing" haircut.