After nine seasons in the NFL and after winning three Super Bowl championships, New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski has announced his retirement. Gronkowski has been one of the most dominate TEs in the NFL since entering the league nine years ago, but that was when he was on the field. Gronk missed good chunks of time throughout his career. Being a truly dominate player on the field, but missing time with injury and only playing nine seasons, is Rob Gronkowski Hall of Fame worthy?
Is Rob Gronkowski Hall of Fame worthy? In order to give an accurate answer to this question, we first have to take a look at the current members of the Hall of Fame at the TE position. There are currently eight TEs in the NFL Hall of Fame. Those TEs are Dave Casper, Mike Ditka, John Mackey, Ozzie Newsome, Charlie Sanders, Shannon Sharpe, Jackie Smith and Kellen Winslow. Tony Gonzalez will soon be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame as well, bumping that number up to nine.
Let’s compare the numbers of these nine Hall of Fame TEs to those of Gronk’s to see if he deserves to one day be a member of this elite group. Let’s start with Gronkowski’s stats.
2010-2018: 115 games played, 521 receptions, 7,861 yards and 79 receiving TDs.
If Rob Gronkowski was to become the 10th TE in the Hall of Fame right now, here’s how he would rank in the categories listed:
Games played: 9th
I ask again, is Rob Gronkowski Hall of Fame worthy? After looking at this rankings in those four categories, it certainly looks as if he is. Gronk ranks higher than at least one current Hall of Fame TE in every category listed. In three out of the four, he’s ranked higher than at least five other guys. When it comes to TDs, which is perhaps the most important of the four categories listed, he ranks second, only behind the great Tony Gonzalez.
To strengthen his case to become a Hall of Fame member, I’ll throw in some of his accomplishments. In five out of his nine NFL seasons, Gronk was selected to the Pro Bowl. In four of his nine seasons, Gronk was named First Team All-Pro.
If you look at his stats season by season, you’ll see that most of the years Gronk wasn’t elected to either the Pro Bowl or First Team All-Pro, were his rookie season, his last season and two other seasons in which he played just seven and eight games in. I have no doubt that if Gronk was healthy in those two seasons, and even this past season, he would have been elected to at least the Pro Bowl every season except for his rookie year.
Another strong case for Gronk to be in the Hall of Fame, is the fact that he earned three Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots. Gronk was a huge factor in the Patriots not only reaching, but winning those Super Bowls.
Is Rob Gronkowski Hall of Fame worthy?
I say yes. With that being said, I’m not sure he’s going to be a first ballot Hall of Fame player. I’m not sure he’ll be seen as that type of guy, but I do think he’ll get in relatively quickly.
What do you think? Did Rob Gronkowski do enough in his nine NFL seasons to make the NFL Hall of Fame? Let us know in the comments below!
After looking at head coaches on Wednesday and then linemen on both sides of the ball yesterday, I wrap up the week (but not the series) looking at a group of defensive backs up for the NFL’s Hall of Fame. Three of these men played the bulk of their careers as free safeties, while the other two were corners. Interestingly, the last three all played together in 2009 for the Denver Broncos*, and four out of five of these players played in Denver at some point in their careers, while three out of five played for the Jets–but never together.
*That Broncos squad, Josh McDaniels’ first, went 8-8 while the defense ranked third against the pass.
For my comparisons throughout this series, I’ve been looking at the Hall of Fame list posted on pro-football-reference.com. According to the last, there is no distinction between safeties or cornerbacks. Instead, PFR refers to all of those players as “defensive backs.” So, instead of breaking these five players down by position like I did yesterday with guards and tackles, I’ll be comparing them to fellow defensive backs.
However, I will be comparing them to defensive backs of a certain era–from 1989 until 2013, the former because that’s the earliest any of these five began his career, and 2013 because that’s the last year that any of these guys played.
Steve Atwater, Free Safety: Denver Broncos, 1989-1998 & New York Jets, 1999
Atwater, known for his bone-crushing hits over the middle, went 20th overall to the Broncos in the 1989 draft out of Arkansas. Over the next decade, he started at least 14 games every season. He picked off 24 passes, forced five fumbles, recovered eight fumbles and collected 1,125 total tackles. He made All-Pro in 1991 and 1992 while reaching eight Pro Bowls in a span of nine years. He was one of the team’s defensive leaders when Denver won back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
John Lynch, Strong Safety/Free Safety: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1993-2003 & Denver Broncos, 2004-2007
Over the years in Tampa Bay, John Lynch led a revolution that helped transform the Bucs from the Yuks into a Super Bowl winner. The Stanford product went in the third round of the 1993 draft to Tampa, where he’d patrol the center of the field for the following 11 seasons. In that time, he went to five Pro Bowls, made All-Pro twice, and won Super Bowl XXXVII. Lynch later left for Denver, where he made another four Pro Bowls before retiring. In the end, that’s nine Pro Bowls, two All-Pro selections, seven trips to the playoffs and one championship.
Ty Law, Cornerback: New England Patriots, 1995-2004; New York Jets, 2005, 2008; Kansas City Chiefs, 2006-2007; Denver Broncos, 2009
Ty Law was another first round pick, going No. 23 to the Patriots out of Michigan in 1995. He was part of the team that lost Super Bowl XXXI to the Packers, but then he collected three Super Bowl rings at the start of the Brady-Belichick Dynasty. By the time he retired as a member of the Broncos, he’d made five Pro Bowls (four with the Patriots, one with the Jets) and had been named All-Pro twice. He finished his career with 53 interceptions, seven of which he returned for touchdowns, which is the 11th most all-time.
Champ Bailey, Cornerback: Washington Redskins, 1999-2003 & Denver Broncos, 2004-2013
Before getting dealt to the Broncos for running back Clinton Portis prior to the start of the 2004 season, Champ Bailey had already intercepted 18 passes and collected 312 total tackles while getting voted into four Pro Bowls as a five-year member of the Redskins. Over the next 10 seasons in Denver, he’d be named All-Pro three times while making another eight Pro Bowls. He led the league in interceptions with 10 in 2006 and finished his career with 52.
Ed Reed, Free Safety: Baltimore Ravens, 2002-2012; New York Jets, 2013; Houston Texans, 2013
The 24th overall pick out of Miami (Fla.) in the 2002 draft, Reed played 11 years for the Ravens before splitting his final season between the Jets and Texans. In his first decade-plus in Baltimore, Reed was named the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year, won one Super Bowl, made nine Pro Bowls and was elected All-Pro five times. Throughout his 12-year career, Reed intercepted 64 passes, which is seventh all-time. His 1,590 interception return yards is the most all-time.
Which of the five of Atwater, Lynch, Law, Bailey and Reed gets into the Hall of Fame? Remember two things: 1) Only a maximum of five finalists can be inducted in a given year, and 2) I’ve already selected center Kevin Mawae and guard Alan Faneca. I have at most three remaining spots between these five and three offensive playmakers I’ve yet to discuss.
Based on those factors, I believe only one defensive back has a shot at making it into Canton this season. Right off the bat I’m going to eliminate three of them: Steve Atwater, John Lynch and Ty Law. Each of those three defensive backs previously had shots to make it, yet failed. This year, they face even tougher competition with first-time nominees Champ Bailey and Ed Reed.
And it’s at those two that I’m going to take a closer look.
There are 26 defensive backs in the Hall of Fame. Of those 26, five retired after 1999: the ageless Darrell Green, Rod Woodson, Deion “Primetime” Sanders, Aeneas Williams and Brian Dawkins.
As far as longevity, both Bailey and Reed stack up with those five. Bailey made more Pro Bowls than any of those players, while Reed made more than all but Woodson. Only Woodson and Sanders made more All-Pros than Reed, while Bailey only edges out Green in that category. Regarding interceptions, only Woodson’s 71 overshadow Reed’s 64. Meanwhile, Bailey’s 52 interceptions only beats Dawkins’ 37.
Here’s what I’m getting at: Bailey and Reed both compare very well to the five defensive back members of the Hall of Fame from around their era. Much like with the discussion I had yesterday about guards Alan Faneca and Steve Hutchinson, though, the two will be compared against each other as their careers overlapped from 2002-2013.
Starting with longevity, Bailey gets the edge as he started longer at his position. Bailey also has a 12-9 edge regarding Pro Bowls. But, in less time as a starter, Reed has more All-Pro selections, 5-3. Reed won a Defensive Player of the Year award while Bailey never did. Reed also collected 12 more interceptions than did Bailey (again, in fewer years), and Reed was part of a Super Bowl-winning squad whereas Bailey never reached that height.
For the time being, Ed Reed gets my vote for Canton. Perhaps, after the next article, I’ll re-visit Bailey.
But for now, I’ve used three of my maximum five slots: Ed Reed joins Kevin Mawae and Alan Faneca.
Terrell Owens is widely known as one of the most selfish football players in a game full of egomaniacs. In his last most despicable move, Owens has declared that after visiting Canton earlier in the year he has decided not to attend the induction ceremony, but rather hold his own celebration elsewhere at another time. The move is unprecedented, and at first glance, I thought maybe it was a form of peaceful protest against the NFL because of their new anthem policy. That I could have understood. No, this is totally a selfish and ungrateful move by Owens, who arguably doesn’t even belong in this class in the first place. I am sure Owens will have thousands of cameras at his ceremony, probably right before or right after the real inductions of the real Hall of Famers so he can steal the spotlight. This is a disgraceful move by Owens in a long line of disgraceful moves throughout his career. The guy was the worst teammate there was in the ultimate team game.
Is Canton the greatest city in the world? Having grown up 20 minutes south of Canton and spent a lot of time there, I can say it is not, but that isn’t the point. The point is that Canton is where Professional Football was born and that is where the entry point of the greatest most select club is. It’s where Owens should be if he wants to go into the Hall. Canton, Ohio is a blue-collar gritty town that signifies what the NFL and the Hall of Fame are about. The Hall of Fame is not about loud mouth has-been’s making everything about them, but rather it is about grinding for years in the league to be the best there ever was, putting the team and team success first.
This was Owens’ third time on the Hall of Fame ballot. The first two times when he did not get in, he went on any and every radio and TV show and cried about how the voting was against him and how he was being persecuted, and then he pulls this stunt. Owens only cares about himself. What about the fans that want to go see his speech and see him get inducted it to the hall? He doesn’t care about it if it’s not about TO, he doesn’t care! There is a reason that a receiver with his type of talent was on five different teams. I don’t care how many times he gets on TV and cries about, “This is my quarterback man!” Owens only cares about himself and always has, he is a selfish child that doesn’t deserve to be in the same Hall with other great players. Randy Moss is another modern-day wide receiver that is going into the Hall in the same class, and Owens could not sniff Moss in the talent or teammate department.
If the Hall had any guts at all they should strip Owens of his Hall of Fame status, or at the very least there should be no mention of him at all during the weekend. There should be no picture hanging off the side of the stadium as is customary, nothing! If the networks had any guts at all, looking at you ESPN, there would not be a single mention let alone a camera at his “ceremony.” Do not allow this child to make a mockery of the most sacred Hall of the NFL and its opening weekend. I am sure Owens is only doing this so his broke ass can monetize his induction somehow. Terrell Owens is a selfish child and should be treated as such, having his status taken away by the Hall of Fame. Do not placate him ESPN, NFL Network, NFL, and Hall of Fame.