The legend of Rob Gronkowski grows.
As it should. The Patriots tight end set multiple records in his second NFL season: Youngest player with three touchdown catches in a playoff game (three); most TD receptions by a tight end, single season; most TDs by a tight end, single season; most receiving yards by a TE, single season; first TE to lead NFL in receiving TDs.
Is it so surprising Gronkowski continues receiving high marks in the offseason?
Most recently, NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah included the 23-year old on a list of Top 10 NFL players under 25.
"The word 'Beast' is grossly overused in today's sports vernacular," wrote Jeremiah. "However, in Gronk's case, there is no better term to describe him. In just his second season, he established himself as the best tight end in the NFL. He hauled in 90 balls for 1,327 yards and 17 TDs (a record for tight ends). He had multiple TDs in seven different regular season games. He has ideal size, speed and hands. His ability to use his frame to wall-off defenders on third down is a huge luxury for Tom Brady. I'd also rank him as the second best red-zone target in the NFL behind only Detroit's Calvin Johnson."
Gronkowski is signed with New England through 2013.
Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss the aftermath of Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video. Curran interview Matt Light ahead of the AFC Championship. They dissect the press conferences of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and look at how to beat the Steelers.
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2:29 Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live aftermath
13:14 Stopping Le’Veon Bell
27:16 heywassyonumba? with Patrick Chung and Kyle Van Noy
32:30 Injury report updates for AFC Championship
36:51 Brady and Belichick’s press conferences
44:50 Matt Light interview
FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick knows that how you play, not where, is what matters most.
That's why when he was asked on Wednesday about the advantage the Patriots will have by playing at Gillette Stadium in the AFC title game, he wasn't willing to go all-in on how a comfortable environment will positively impact his team.
"I don’t know," he said. "Go ask Dallas and Kansas City."
The Patriots apparently thought enough of home-field advantage that they played their starters throughout their regular-season finale win in Miami, exposing their best players to potential injury in order to maintain their positive momentum while simultaneously ensuring a better road to the Super Bowl.
The Patriots fans in attendance on Sunday will help when the Patriots take on the Steelers, Belichick acknowledged. But there's much more to it than that.
"Yeah, of course," he said, "but the game is won by the players on the field. That’s who wins football games – the players. And they’ll decide it Sunday night."
And if you needed any further proof, just ask the Cowboys and Chiefs how helpful their home crowds were in the Divisional Round.