Gronkowski Brady

Record-Setting Performances Highlight Just How Good Brady and Gronkowski Are

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are good at football. That much has been clear since the beginning of each of their careers. While Thursday’s win over Indianapolis was just another notch in the belt for the Hall of Fame pair, each set records that highlight just how incredibly successful each has been in their careers.

Despite missing 37 games due to injury throughout the course of his career, Gronk has put up numbers at a staggering pace. On Thursday night he passed Wes Welker for second on the Patriots all-time receiving list with 7487 receiving yards. He is less than 3000 yards behind the receiving leader Stanley Morgan, who played 13 seasons with New England in the 1970s and 1980s.

Gronk’s numbers are not only impressive compared to former Patriots. They are ridiculous when compared to the history of the NFL itself. Gronk’s pace completely blows his fellow tight ends out of the water:

Gronk
69.9 receiving yards per game
0.7 touchdowns per game

Tony Gonzalez
56 receiving yards per game
0.4 touchdowns per game

Jason Witten
52.1 receiving yards per game
0.3 touchdowns per game

Antonio Gates
51.6 receiving yards per game
0.5 touchdowns per game

*all stats regular season only

These numbers are ridiculous, and paint Gronk as the best receiving tight end in NFL history. (He also should be considered the best tight end of all time period because he is a fantastic blocker, but we will ignore that for now). What is more impressive though is how Gronk compares not only to tight ends but to receivers. The Patriots’ star tight end has numbers that are almost identical to those of Randy Moss, one of the best wide receivers of all time.

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Gronk
69.9 receiving yards per game
0.7 touchdowns per game

Randy Moss
70.1 receiving yards per game
0.72 touchdowns per game

Gronkowski is a generational talent and has been showing it with an absurd pace over the course of his career. Thursday’s record was just another on a long list of accomplishments for the Patriots tight end who is still only eight years into his career.

Gronk’s quarterback is just as impressive. On Thursday Brady became just the third quarterback in NFL history to throw for 500 touchdowns, joining Brett Favre (508) and Peyton Manning (539). While the trio will soon be joined by Drew Brees, this is an extremely elite group composed of some of the greatest players to ever play the quarterback position. However, Brady has found a way to set this record in even better fashion than his comrades. To complete his 500 touchdowns, he needed only 8984 passing attempts. For comparison, Manning needed 9380, Favre needed 10169, and Brees needed at least 9455. Now, this is not meant to detract from the success of these other quarterbacks; throwing 500 touchdowns is a special accomplishment. However, it is significant that Brady needed fewer pass attempts to reach this incredible milestone. This highlights his efficiency and helps explain why the Patriots offense has been so successful throughout his tenure.

In addition, Josh Gordon was the 71st player to catch a touchdown pass from Brady, which passed Vinny Testaverde for a new NFL record. This is a sort of odd accomplishment and isn’t exactly going to be the first thing people notice when looking at his Hall of Fame resume. However, what it does show is that Brady is Brady no matter who is lining up alongside him. He has been able to get the ball in the end zone with an extremely diverse group of receivers, running backs, and tight ends over the past two decades. Brady has had some incredible pass catchers in his time, such as Randy Moss and Rob Gronkowski, but has been able to make the offense work even without elite players.

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The milestones that Brady and Gronk reached on Thursday are just another indication of how special the two truly are, both together and separately. Like Moss, Manning, Favre, Gonzalez, and countless other Hall of Famers, these two are the kind of players that you can never truly appreciate until they are retired and you no longer get to see how truly incredible they are week in and week out.

Until next time – B$

Brian Cole

Brian Cole

Author ProfootballTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine.com
Expert on all things Deflategate, and New England Patriots Writer for SportsTalkLine.com