Tom Brady and Coach Belichick are going to the Super Bowl together for the eighth time. That number is eye-popping enough and it says nothing of how many times the incredible duo actually won the whole thing. While Brady and Belichick are likely heading to the Hall of Fame the moment they are eligible, the Super Bowl this year will likely be decided by an entirely different individual: Rob Gronkowski. Rob Gronkowski left the AFC title game early due to a hit that led to a concussion. Now all eyes are on Foxboro to see whether or not the affable tight end will be making it back in time for the big game. His absence could change everything for New England.
While we’re sure that New England could win a Super Bowl with high school players starting at tight end, Tom Brady is definitely going to want to have his 6’6 All-Pro tight end back on the field. Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady have a historic connection with one another and it has led to unbridled success. Brady’s receiving corps this season is already notoriously thin, despite the return of Chris Hogan and the health of Brandin Cooks, and Gronkowski is going to be counted on more than ever. This is particularly emphasized by the competition that New England will be playing.
The Philadelphia Eagles are taking the field as the underdog against New England for the Super Bowl. Despite this fact, Philly has probably the best defense in the entire NFL backing them up. Philadelphia’s talented defensive line goes seven players deep and that says nothing about their talented secondary and borderline elite defensive backs. Philadelphia likes to play physical against receivers and that is something that Rob Gronkowski can actually weather and excel in. Without Gronk on the field, Brady and the Pats will likely be targeting undersized wide receivers who will struggle with the pressure. To put this even simpler, the Patriots need to have Gronk on the field for their offense to go. Thankfully Rob Gronkowski returned to practice and he appears to be moving through the concussion protocol at an appropriate rate in order to be ready for the Super Bowl.
No matter what happens this weekend, it looks like great football is still on the menu. Will the Patriots cement themselves as the most enduring dynasty in football history? Will Philadelphia come out and shock the world?