A Couple of 31-Year-old, Future Hall of Fame Tight Ends
It’s Super Bowl Sunday! Today we have the pleasure of witnessing the showdown between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Within this matchup, we also have two top-notch tight ends and future Hall of Famers going head to head. Tight ends have become just as versatile as the wide receiver and even the running back position. Tight ends are bigger, faster, and stronger than most everyone on the offense. Rob Gronkowski & Travis Kelce define this better than anyone.
Rob Gronkowski was born on May 14, 1989. He is a five-time Pro-Bowler and was selected to the NFL 2010 All-Decade team. He was also selected to the NFL 100th Anniversary team. Gronk was drafted with the 42nd pick out of the University of Arizona. He became the first player in U of A history to lead the NCAA in touchdowns by a tight end. His postseason accolades are one for the ages. These awards include the most touchdowns, receptions, and receiving yards in Super Bowl history by a tight end. Aside from football, two of Gronkowski’s biggest accomplishments are his involvement in the Make-a-Wish Foundation as well as his own, Gronk Nation Youth Foundation. Gronk officially came out of retirement for the 2020 NFL season. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to play with his former quarterback, Tom Brady. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski need one more touchdown connection to set the all-time postseason record of 12, currently held by Joe Montana & Jerry Rice.
Travis Kelce was born on October 5, 1989, exactly five months and nine days after Rob Gronkowski. An interesting stat considering their individual careers. Kelce was selected with the 63rd pick in the 2013 NFL draft out of the University of Cincinnati. After his first game, he was placed on injured reserve resulting in knee surgery. This was his Rookie season. Kelce has minor success the following season but his game really started to blossom by the start of the 2015 season. This was the year Kelce was named to his first Pro Bowl. His on-field achievements continued to rise for the next three years. The game-changer ended up being a new quarterback in town by the name of Patrick Mahomes. This addition opened up Kansas City’s offense in a big way.
As far as prior matchups go between these two teams (this season), we only have one game to refer to which was in Week 12. In this game, Gronkowski had six catches on seven targets for 106 total yards. Kelce caught all eight of his targets for 82 yards. Neither tight end got into the end zone. This Week 12 matchup was taken over by Tyreek Hill who totaled 269 yards and three touchdowns. The Chiefs won 27-24. We can expect adjustments by both defenses. Tight ends are expected to have a huge role in this game.
After a Super Bowl win in 2019 for Kelce and the Chiefs, the Buccaneers have set the stage for a potentially incredible rematch today.