On Sunday, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski made the announcement that New England fans had feared was coming: he is retiring. After a career that spanned nine seasons and included three Super Bowl rings, but also a slew of serious injuries, Gronkowski retires as one of the greatest to ever play the tight end position. This week’s roundtable celebrates the career of Gronk, as we ask the DC Sports section, what’s your favorite Gronk memory?
Danny Barletta, Campus Correspondent
Over his nine-year career, Gronk gave me some unforgettable moments, but the one that jumps out to me the most is when he single-handedly beat the Steelers in Week 15 of the 2017 season. In a game that was crucial for playoff positioning, Tom Brady turned to his most dependable receiver, and Gronk did not disappoint. He went off for 9 catches and 168 yards, most of which came in the second half. The pivotal moment of the game was when Brady and the Patriots came out for a two minute drive down by five. Brady threw to Gronk on every play of the drive to march down the field, and the Steelers just couldn’t stop him. After a Dion Lewis touchdown, Gronk caught the two-point conversion to go up by three and gave us one of his most iconic moments when he maniacally laughed at the corner who was trying to defend him before doing a classic “Gronk Spike.” Everything we love about Gronk was present in this game.
Neil Simmons, Campus Correspondent
There are so many Gronk memories to pick from, but my personal favorite was his entire 2011 season. Not only did Gronk’s efforts help the Patriots rack up 13 wins and make another Super Bowl run that season, but he also helped my fantasy team dominate all year long. This was the year when Gronk became Gronk; an absolutely dominant force on the football field that broke records like he broke tackles and scored touchdowns for fun, all the while having the time of his life. His 1,327 yards and 17 receiving touchdowns both set NFL records and he chipped in a rushing TD for good measure. Gronk churned out highlight reel plays practically every time he touched the ball, and him laying out to corral a TD catch in mid-air against Denver in the playoffs, a part of a 145 yard, three TD performance, was one of the best of his career.
Matt Barresi, Staff Writer
There are a lot of notable Gronk highlights, and I hope and expect they will be mentioned here. On the field he was tremendous; off the field he was entertaining. Since it is “Favorite Gronk Moment,” mine is a little more niche and personal. The New England Patriots have an annual community engagement initiative where they have some of their players go out to local communities and play in a basketball game as a fundraiser for community organizations. They have been coming to my hometown of Hanover for years. Either after Gronk’s rookie or second season, I forget which, but definitely before he was a megastar, he made an appearance. Before injuries and in his athletic pinnacle, I am sure you can envision what that was like. He had multiple thunderous and high-rising dunks, and a couple heavy-handed swats as well. Of course he had fun with it-he wouldn’t be Gronk if he didn’t-but he certainly wasn’t subtle in exerting his supreme athleticism on a bunch of high schoolers and local donors. The image that really sticks out is him racing down the far sideline and soaring to catching an alley-oop, putting it down with one hand and having the rim make a sound it probably hadn’t in years, if ever. Highlight displays of athleticism make that game fun and Gronk completely bought it. Of course postgame he was kind and friendly in signing autographs and taking pictures.