Tom Brady calls Rob Gronkowski the ‘greatest blocking tight end’ ever

Tom Brady calls Rob Gronkowski the ‘greatest blocking tight end’ ever originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The tight end position in today’s NFL looks a lot like wide receiver.

Pass-catching is much more of an emphasis for tight ends, and many of the players who come into the league at that position are taller, faster and quicker than ever before. They can run all the routes and take advantage of smaller safeties and slower linebackers.

But that doesn’t mean old-school tight end abilities, such as pass blocking and run blocking, aren’t important anymore. That facet of the game remains critical to a team’s success.

We all know former New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski was a phenomenal tight end, and quite possibly the best player ever to play the position – and certainly the most dominant. He tallied 621 receptions for 9,286 yards with 92 touchdowns over 11 seasons. Those numbers would look even better had he not missed so many games due to injuries.

But it’s not all about the receiving numbers with Gronkowski. Ex-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently had Gronk as a guest on his Let’s Go! podcast, where he talked about what made his former teammate so special. One thing he singled out was Gronkowski’s elite blocking ability at tight end.

“Robbie G was amazing for a lot of reasons, probably one of the most underrated things he did – which I don’t think was underrated – he’s the greatest blocking tight end to ever play,” Brady said. “He manhandled guys who were bigger than him, and he outran guys who were smaller than him. He was a matchup nightmare.”

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Gronkowski’s blocking was especially critical to the 2018 Patriots’ run to a Super Bowl title. About halfway through that season, the Patriots became much more of a power-running team. That style of play carried into the playoffs, where they scored nine rushing touchdowns in three games.

The only touchdown of Super Bowl LIII versus the Los Angeles Rams – scored by rookie running back Sony Michel – came on a run to the left side at the goal line. One of the guys paving the way for Michel was Gronkowski.

Gronkowski made a ton of memorable plays as a pass-catcher that will fill up highlight reels for decades to come. But they don’t tell the whole picture. He wasn’t just a great receiving tight end. Nobody blocked better than Gronk at his position.

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