Rob Gronkowski was raised much like a wolf, amongst a pack of savage Gronkowski brothers desperately wrestling for their own survival.
As the second youngest of the Gronkowski clan, Rob had to fight an uphill battle against his older brothers if he wanted to eat. But since he emerged from the Gronkowski cave into the spotlight of the NFL, Gronkowski has done nothing but feast—on opposing defenses, on strippers and on games of Twister.
God damn, it makes for some good television.
On Sunday, Gronkowski quietly set the record for the most touchdowns in a season by a tight end, 14, despite having the record for most receiving touchdowns by a tight end revoked when a Tom Brady pass was later called a lateral.
Regardless, Gronkowski set the total touchdown record for a tight end, and remains tied with Vernon Davis and Antonio Gates (not bad company) for the reception record. That’s all well and good, until you realize that the NFL season is only 75 percent complete. Even if Gronkowski’s torrid pace slows, he’s set up to shatter records.
So why is he so good? Here are three of the major reasons:
1) He’s a physical specimen.
We’re talking 6’6" and 265 pounds, and he runs a 4.65 40-yard dash. You couldn’t dream up a better build. Just ask Bibi Jones, she loves those abs.
2) He does it all.
I’ll be the first to admit that with Tom Brady running around in his Uggs being a boss, I don’t spend a lot of game time watching Gronkowski’s blocking. But nearly every analyst who watches him highlights his blocking ability.
He more regularly dominates linebackers and defensive linemen than just about any tight end in the league. Coupled with receiving ability, he’s the perfect tight end.
3) He’s been brainwashed
If you hear the Gronk man talk, let’s just say he’s not going to articulate you to death. That said, he has been smart enough to absorb the only message necessary for success in New England.
It’s all about the team and getting the W. He recites this mantra in response to any and all allegations against him, and Bill Belichick weeps tears of joy.
You can try to make a case against Gronk being the best tight end in the league, but in the last two seasons, he’s had no equal. New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham does have more receiving yards this year— 1,046 to 928—but he also had eight touchdowns to Gronkowski’s 14.
Perhaps a better gauge? Gronkowski is leading all receivers in the NFL with 13 receiving touchdowns. Second place belongs to Calvin Johnson, with 12.
Best of all, Gronk is only 22 years old and is also joined in New England by Aaron Hernandez, a former arch rival from junior football. Hernandez himself has 523 receiving yards and five touchdowns on the season.
These guys have managed to play alongside each other and clearly make each other better. There’s no doubt that Rob Gronkowski is having a lot of fun, both on the Twister board and in between the lines.
Geoff Roberts is the Founder and Managing Editor of howiGit.com, a Boston sports blog.