Everything changed for the better when the New England Patriots drafted Rob Gronkowski in the second-round of the 2010 NFL Draft. His skills paired with his high-energy personality really set him apart from the normal qualities of being on the Patriots.
But In just nine years in the league (all with the Patriots), Gronkowski would arguably become the greatest tight end in NFL history.
Similar to the years of Moss, Gronkowski and Brady quickly formed an on-field rapport with each other that was second to none in the league. As a rookie, Gronk finished with 42 receptions for 546 yards and 10 touchdowns, which was the most by a rookie tight end since the NFL-AFL merger.
Gronk followed up his impressive rookie season by statistically being the best tight end in the league, as well as being considered in the top ten of all the wide receivers in the NFL. He finished the 2011 season as a First-Team All-Pro and totaled 90 receptions for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns while catching 73 percent of his targets.
His 17 receiving touchdowns were the most by any player in the NFL that season, making him the first tight end to do so. It’s worth mentioning that Gronk did have a rushing touchdown in 2011, giving him 18 total for the season.
Gronk would lose his first Super Bowl that year in Super Bowl XLVI to the New York Giants and would later require ankle surgery in the off season. In just two seasons together, Gronk and Brady had connected on 27 touchdowns, which would be the most for Brady since the days of Moss.
Gronk started to become more limited from the middle of the 2012 season and pretty much all through 2013 due to various injuries. He broke his arm late in the season that would end up requiring four surgeries to repair and tore his ACL and MCL the following season after just seven games.
But even so, he still made his presence known on the field. Gronk played 11 games in 2012 finishing with 790 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, becoming the first tight end in NFL history to record at least 10 touchdowns in three consecutive seasons.
In 2013 he played only seven games before his aforementioned surgery and had 592 yards and four touchdowns.
Gronkowski bounced back in 2014 earning Comeback Player of the Year and really from then on the New England Patriots were championship contenders until he retired in 2018. Gronkowski would become a four-time First-Team All-Pro, be named to five Pro Bowl’s, and won three Super Bowl’s with the Patriots.
Gronk has the most receiving touchdowns in the regular season (78) and postseason (12) from Tom Brady, which is also good for first all-time in New England Patriots franchise history. He also finished his career with 7,861 receiving yards, which is second all-time in franchise history.