When healthy, Rob Gronkowski is easily the best player on the 2014-2015 New England Patriots. That’s saying something given that this is a team with a first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback in Tom Brady and one of the best shutdown corners ever in Darrelle Revis. That’s just how good Gronk, who led the Pats this season with 1,124 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns, is.
The Super Bowl betting line at TopBet has the Pats as slight 1.5-point favorites, and a healthy Gronk has something to do with that. He’s an absolute game-changer in the passing game, a force of nature that can turn any game at any time. And he’ll be up against Seattle’s banged up Legion of Boom.
Safety Earl Thomas and Cornerback Richard Sherman both suffered significant arm injuries in the NFC Championship Game, which could leave both at less than 100 percent to face Gronk and the Pats. Having shoulder and elbow problems isn’t exactly ideal in bringing down a bulldozer like Gronkowski.
Gronk could be just the X-factor Tom Brady has been missing in the past few postseasons. Remember, he suffered a high ankle sprain back in the 2012 AFC Championship Game, when he was at the height of his powers. He still played in the Super Bowl despite the injury, but he was a non-factor in the Pats’ loss to the New York Giants.
He also missed the Pats’ last two postseason runs in 2013 and 2014 due to injury, as they were knocked out in the AFC Championship Game on both occasions.
But he’s finally healthy this time around. Gronk was crucial in the Pats’ big 35-31 win over the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round as he led the team with 108 receiving yards and a touchdown. He was afforded a lighter workload with the Pats running all over the Colts, but he still had time to catch another touchdown pass.
The New England Patriots have gone a decade without winning a Super Bowl, although that might not have been the case if Gronkowski had been healthy in each of the past three postseasons. With Gronk all set to go in Arizona, that drought might soon come to an end in the desert.