New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is now likely to play in Super Bowl LII, as it seems that he has reportedly passed concussion protocol.
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick can rest a little easier in the next few days. While they are playing in their eighth Super Bowl together on Sunday, it seems that they will be getting back their best offensive weapon in tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Gronkowski had been in the NFL’s concussion protocol after a hit he sustained in the AFC Championship two weeks ago. Shortly before halftime, Jacksonville Jaguars safety Barry Church unleashed a punishing hit that had Gronkowski woozy and had to exit the ball game.
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, “Rob Gronkowski will be at the team’s media availability [on Thursday], ready to speak to reporters.” Rapoport believes that this only further proves that Gronkowski has cleared concussion protocol.
This is huge for the Patriots on their quest to win Lombardi Trophy No. 6. Though New England was able to beat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI last year in Houston without Gronkowski, the Patriots will need him to beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in Minneapolis.
New England will be without Brady’s other favorite target in slot receiver Julian Edelman for this game, who has been out all year with a torn ACL. Fellow slot receiver Danny Amendola came up huge in the biggest game of his life two weeks ago against Jacksonville. However, the Patriots need Gronkowski to better exploit the Eagles defense.
Philadelphia is vulnerable in the secondary, but should be a menace in the front-seven. Gronkowski is an all-around excellent tight end. His ability to aid in blocking could help Brady carve up the lackluster Eagles defensive backfield. Because Gronkowski is extremely athletic as a receiver, he could be the ultimate mismatch that could thwart the Eagles defense.
The more plays the Patriots offense runs, the more likely they will be back-to-back Super Bowl champions. This would be the Patriots’ third Lombardi Trophy in four years should they knock off the Eagles in Minneapolis. We should expect a tight game, as most Patriots’ Super Bowls are. However, a healthy Gronkowski should only tip the scales more in New England’s favor.