Posted in The New England Patriots, writing

Forever Grateful For Gronk

I know all good things must come to an end.  Today was one of those days.  Today was the day Rob Gronkowski announced that after nine years in the NFL he was retiring.

Before Gronk came into the league I understand the tight end position was a position created for a player to stand at the end of the offensive line.  He could be a pass catcher.  He could be a run blocker.  He was smaller than an offensive lineman but bigger than a receiver.  The tight end would be the in between.  He’d be more a blocker for the running game.  When Gronk came in he did both exceptionally well.  He was a phenomenal run blocker and could catch a pass and run—because he was faster than most tight ends and had better hands than those that came before him.

The Patriots, being the Patriots, used him in both ways.  The question for other team defenses became how do you stop Gronk?  You can’t cover him with a linebacker; he’s too fast.  If you try having one of your defensive backs cover him he’s too big and he’ll run them over.  Gronk was the ultimate tight end who could do everything.  He changed the tight end position as we know it.  That’s what made him so special.  We’ve never seen anyone like this. And it will be a long time before we see it again.  If ever.

Throw in the fact he was a fan favorite, a good presence in the locker room, a fun-loving overall good guy and you have the perfect prototypical tight end and player.

I can’t blame Gronk for his decision of retiring.  He is going out on top, having just won his third Super Bowl.  He is undoubtedly a first-round Hall of Famer.  What else was there to achieve?

As a fan I will miss Gronk as a player and a personality.  Some of my favorite football moments were because of Gronk.  The football spikes.  The goofiness on the sidelines.  The goofiness off the field. The Gronk Nation Youth Foundation. His numerous product endorsements. The Gronk Party Bus.  He’s. Just. Gronk.

Knowing how Gronk is I’m sure we will see plenty of him in the future one way or another.  Whatever he chooses to do with the rest of his life, I’m sure he’ll do it in the same way he played football:  with greatness.

Here’s to you, Gronk!

gronkspike

 

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Posted in The New England Patriots

“If you don’t believe in yourself, why is anyone else going to believe in you?”-Tom Brady

To all the New England Patriots haters, keep this in mind.  There are 31 other teams Tom Brady could’ve ended up on that would now be the most hated team in football.  Imagine, you could all be hating the Jets.  Or the Browns.  Or even the Rams.  Kansas City, anyone?  Then again, even a QB as great as THE GOAT can only be as good as what he’s surrounded with.  What if the tables had been turned and any of the other 31 NFL quarterbacks were THE GOAT instead of Tom Brady?  Imagine, you could all be hating Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger or Drew Brees.  Patrick Mahomes or Jared Goff anyone?  Oh wait.  Those two haven’t played long enough to be THE GOAT.

When five rounds had passed and he had yet to be selected in the NFL draft, Tom Brady was pissed.  Rightfully so.  He knew he had something to offer some team.  At that time it may not have been much.  But he knew someday it would be the world.  The Patriots almost passed him up.  Thanks to Dick Rehbein, a Patriots assistant coach at the time who convinced Bill Belichick to draft Brady, that changed everything.

It only took one person to believe.  One person to believe in Tom Brady.  Dick was that person.  And here we are today.  Getting ready for another Super Bowl.

There will never be another GOAT.  Not in our lifetime, anyway.  I don’t know, maybe one hundred years from now when they’re playing football on Mars some kid will be lighting it up, take his team to twenty Super Bowls, win every game and play until he’s ninety.  Who knows?

Someday what we know as this Patriots team with Tom Brady at the helm will be no more.  THE GOAT will retire, Bill will follow suit.  Some quarterback will have some extremely big shoes to fill.  We all know this.  It’s a part of life.  Until that time, we sit back and enjoy the ride.  May greatness reign.

Posted in The New England Patriots

It’s That Time Again

Super Bowl Sunday.  Or as it’s become known around these parts:  The New England Patriots Annual Invitational.

The other day I thought back to where I was during each of the Super Bowl games that The Patriots have been in since Tom Brady took over.

Feb 3, 2002 – The only Super Bowl we thought that would ever matter.  We said that if we never won another Super Bowl, we would always remember this one.

Tom Brady took over as QB early in the season after Drew Bledsoe became hurt.  I didn’t even know what Tom Brady looked like.  My husband referred to him as “nothing special”.  He’s been eating his words ever since.

Where was I when Vinatieri kicked the game-winning field goal?  Standing in my living room, about ten feet from the TV, clutching my husband’s hands as we both held our breath, watching as the ball sailed through the upright.

Then we exhaled.  And screamed.

 

February 1, 2004 – Just when we thought we’d never make it to another Super Bowl, The Patriots proved us wrong.  I know we won the game versus Carolina.

I know where I was on Super Bowl Sunday.  I was driving back to Massachusetts from Canada.  I know I made it home in time to watch the game.  But I cannot recall exactly where I was when we won the game.  Probably still trying to warm up from the cold ride home.

 

February 6, 2005 – Three things stand out with this game.  First, we pissed off the entire state of Pennsylvania because we had beat Pittsburgh in the AFC game.  Then we beat Philly in the Super Bowl.

Second, it was my birthday.

Third, I was about three months pregnant.

I know it happened thirteen years ago.  Which really scares me because that means my daughter is going to be a teen later this year.  But I cannot recall where I was when we won.  In my defense I was probably suffering from “baby brain”, more than likely snoozing on the couch.

 

February 3, 2008 and February 5, 2012 – I’ll briefly pass over our two losses to the Giants.  I know I was snoozing during those games.

 

February 1, 2015 – I remember this season well.  The Patriots were dead to rights after losing to Kansas City in week four.  Yeah, right.

The simultaneous looks on Richard Sherman and Tom Brady’s faces as Malcolm Butler intercepted the ball are still etched in my mind.  Sherman’s was of disbelief.  Brady’s was of elation.

I was in the shower when my husband burst in to tell me we had just scored a touchdown, going up four on Seattle.  But there were two minutes left.  Seattle was getting the ball back.  Knowing how close a game it was, I began praying to God, Vince Lombardi, the Football Gods and Myra Kraft.

So where was I exactly when Malcolm Butler intercepted that football?  I was busy making the bed in my spare bedroom, still praying to whoever was listening.  The only sound coming from the living room was the blaring of the TV.  Then I heard my husband yell “INTERCEPTED!” and I practically killed myself running out of that room into the living room.  Until that moment I had never heard of Malcolm Butler.  I thanked Myra and the others profusely.

 

February 5, 2017 – There was no way The Patriots would get to the Playoffs, not much the Super Bowl.  After all, Tom Brady was serving a four-game suspension and two back-up QB’s (one a rookie) could not possibly win a game in his place.  Yeah, right.

So we got to the Big Game.  And it was not looking very pretty.  I took myself out of the painful watching shortly after we scored our first three points and Atlanta went up by 25.

I don’t know exactly what time I woke up in the fourth.  Somewhere near the end.  I thought we still only had three points.  My husband informed me the score was 20-28 and we were getting the ball back.  I remember saying, “Well, if there’s any team who can come back and win, it’s this team”.  I stood there for what seemed like an hour (for which was only about 20 minutes of playing time) and watched as The Patriots scored a touchdown, then a two-point conversion to tie the score.  If there was ever going to be a team to go into overtime during the Super Bowl, The Patriots would be one of those teams.  And they were.  If there was ever going to be a team to win the Super Bowl in overtime, it would be The Patriots.  And they were.

In thirty minutes The New England Patriots’ franchise will be playing in their tenth Super Bowl, more than any other team in the NFL.  Eight of those have been with Tom Brady at the helm.

Where will I be if we win?  Who knows.  Maybe doing back flips in the front yard.  But I know if we lose, tomorrow I will still be a New England Patriots fan.  Because that’s how true New England Patriots fans are.