This offseason, thousands of fans voted in our "Team For the Ages" contest to construct the best imaginable 50-man roster from the NFL’s modern era, which began in 1967. The votes have been counted, and we’re unveiling one player each weekday between now and the kickoff of the 2018 NFL season.
TE Rob Gronkowski
An unrivaled physical and athletic specimen at 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds with 4.68 speed, Gronkowski has the ball skills, balance and fluidity of a receiver and strength and tenacity of an offensive lineman. Perhaps the last great two-way tight end, when healthy, he is as tough an individual matchup as we've seen in NFL history.
Gronk is almost as recognizable off the field for his fun loving party boy persona as he is on it as a dominant playmaker and key cog in the NFL's greatest modern-day dynasty. Though he's already a shoo-in for Canton, Gronk's play style and, subsequently, injury history — he's missed 26 combined regular-season games with injuries over the past six seasons, after appearing in 32 straight to begin his career — will prevent him from matching the accolades of Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates.
They said it
"Yo soy fiesta."
—Gronkowski in 2012 on celebrating the Patriots' AFC title victory over the Ravens
"I’d say for me, him and Bavaro, they’re the two best that I’ve ever had on a consistent basis for all the different things they have to do. Rob takes a lot of pride in whatever he does. He takes pride in a good block just like he takes pride in a good catch, or he takes pride in breaking a tackle or, for that matter, recovering an onside kick."
— Bill Belichick in 2015 discussing Gronkowski's blocking ability
Gronkowski's 70.4 receiving yards per game is the most by a tight end in NFL history. He also set single-season records for the position in 2011 with 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Did you know?
The Patriots sent their second-rounder in 2010 (No. 44 overall) and sixth-rounder in 2011 (No. 190) to the Raiders to move up two spots and draft Gronkowski with the 42nd pick.
In his first-ever postseason win, a 45-10 dismantling of the Broncos in the 2011 divisional round, Gronk tallied 10 catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns — all three marks still standing today as his personal postseason bests.
Previous "Team for the Ages" player announcements