Super Bowl XLVI Fallout: Did the Patriots Make the Wrong Call on Rob Gronkowski?

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIFebruary 7, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Chase Blackburn #93 of the New York Giants intercepts a pass intended for Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots in the second half during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After the Patriots again lost the Super Bowl to Eli Manning's New York Giants, excuses were bound to be made and criticisms destined to be given.

Just ask Wes Welker, after his dropped catch kept the Giants alive in the match.

But maybe the finger needs to be pointed at someone other than Brady, or Welker, or the offensive line.

Maybe it needs to be pointed at arguably their biggest star this season—Rob Gronkowski.

I know Gronkowski is the best tight-end in the league. What he has done this year is phenomenal and has set himself as one of the game's brightest stars for the future.

I also know that he was injured, and bravely took the field to do battle for one last time.

I mean, after all his team needed him, right?

Maybe not.

Because of his injury, Gronkowski was largely ineffective in this match. He didn't draw the double coverage that he usually does, and unless he had a clear window, Tom Brady wasn't throwing to him in a hurry.

He couldn't run and make turns to give him that break on defenders, and whilst he was ineffective, you couldn't call him useless.

He did make two catches—one of which went for 20 yards—and was potentially open in the end zone on one of the Patriots' touchdown drives.

Having said that, he definitely was ineffective, and one may very well wonder how different the result may have been if Brady's interception pass was thrown to a tight-end that could jump.

Gronkowski was never going to step aside; his passion and sheer determination to not let the team down was always going to result in him appearing in the Super Bowl for New England.

But the Patriots were definitely hurt by his presence on the field, so much so that when they really needed the win in the final minutes, Gronkowski was not a target what so ever.

Tom Brady may very well have thrown that interception, and the Patriots may very well have still lost Super Bowl XLVI to the Giants, even if Gronkowski did not play.

It would be a brave man however, to say that having the usually brilliant Gronk on the field helped their cause at all at gaining revenge on the Giants.

If anything, it did the opposite.

Read more articles by Dan here or follow him on Twitter: @dantalintyre

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