Everyone loves Rob Gronkowski, but they may not know just how great he is on the field - Metro US

Everyone loves Rob Gronkowski, but they may not know just how great he is on the field

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Sometime between party rocking, crushing the weight room, chuckling through his “69” references, and throwing dudes “out the club”, Rob Gronkowski has found his way into the hearts and homes of Patriots fans —especially on Sundays.

And it doesn’t just end there. As unlikable as the Patriots are on a national level, you won’t find many that genuinely dislike Gronkowski.

That the Patriots go as Tom Brady goes is the ultimate truth, but not far behind that statement is the fact that Brady has benefited from having the prototypical football superstar in the man simply known as Gronk. And the Patriots need a healthy Gronk almost as much as they need a healthy Brady.

While health hasn’t always been on Gronkowski’s side, when he is healthy and on the field, he appears to be a man among boys, tossing defenders aside as he rumbles down the field, often times into the end zone.

The end zone has been a place where Gronkowski has found himself often. Sixty-nine times, to be exact — something he’d be quick to point out to anybody who brought it up.

And that 69th time, which occurred in the second quarter of Sunday’s 41-25 win over the Bills, set the Patriots all-time touchdown mark, putting him ahead of the legendary Stanley Morgan. “Nice” doesn’t begin to explain it.

Admittedly, Gronkowski isn’t too familiar with Morgan’s career — not yet, anyways. But Morgan has to be familiar with Gronkowski’s career, because upon entering the locker room in Buffalo after Sunday’s win, Gronkowski received a phone call from Morgan himself, congratulating him on the record-setting touchdown.

There’s no doubt that Morgan understands how special of a player Gronkowski is. But do the rest of us? Morgan played 180 games with the Patriots. Gronk just played his 86th.

Brady’s greatness is not understated around these parts. To most, he’s the GOAT. To some he’s a god. To the diehards, well, he is God.

But Gronkowski should go down as the GOAT at the tight end position, too. Heck, you could make the argument that right now, at age 27, Gronkwoski is the best tight end of all-time.

He’s the first tight end to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving and 10-plus touchdowns in the same season three times (2011, 2014, 2015).

He was the first tight end in NFL history to have three straight 10-plus touchdown seasons, and if he hits 10 this year, he will have done it twice (2010-12, 2014-16). His five seasons of double-digit touchdowns is an NFL record amongst tight ends.

He is one of five tight ends to reach 60 or more career touchdowns, and he did it in just 70 games, a whopping 40 less than the next-fastest, Antonio Gates.

He holds the single season record for receiving yards by a tight end, with 1,327 in 2011.

The list goes on, folks.

“I love being part of this organization,” Gronkowski told reporters on Sunday. “I love being part of the Brady Era. I mean, I couldn’t ask to be in any better situation when I got drafted here seven years ago. It was definitely an honor. And I’m super glad that that’s what happened. I got drafted to the New England Patriots, man. So it’s just awesome to come here and tear it up.”

In a time when there’s plenty to be down about regarding the NFL, Gronkowski is a breath of fresh air in that he’s not just someone you can really get behind, but also just so happens to be the best at what he does

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