Did Brady and Gronkowski lull Kansas City into believing that Gronkowski was pretty much a Brady bodyguard since coming out of retirement in 2020 and no longer a key clutch receiver?
Superbowl LV was the biggest embarrassment to the alleged experts since Superbowl III, the game that New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath guaranteed that the Jets would be and they did.
Tom Brady, a 43 year old quarterback, and Rob Gronkowski, his 31 year old clutch tight end, led their Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory without being brash and that victory was even more convincing than the Jets' Superbowl III upset.
Brady is called the Goat, the acronym for Greatest of All Time, but he and Gronkowski were not supposed to be a match for the defending Superbowl champions Kansas City Chiefs led by young quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelse. Kansas City had beaten Tampa Bay at Tampa Bay during the regular season, so for many a repeat Kansas City win was a foregone conclusion, because Mahomes and Kelce were now the best at their positions and Tampa Bay had made the playoffs as a wild card team after losing twice to the New Orleans Saints.
With the benefit of hindsight, it seems credible that Brady and Gronkowski used the 2020-2021 football season to set up Kansas City to be upset and then did it relatively easily.
Kelce is a terrific tight end, no doubt about that. During the regular season he played in 15 of 16 games, caught 105 of 145 passes thrown his way, gained 1,235 yard including 597 after his catches, and made 79 first downs. Only one other player, a wide receiver, had more catches.
Gronkowski was no. 67 among pass catchers during the regular season and played all 16 regular season games. He caught 45 of 77 passes thrown his way, gained 623 yards including 256 after his catches, and made 29 first downs. He is a terrific blocking tight end and averaged 13.8 yards per catch, a bit better than Kelce's 13.5.
As for touchdowns, Kelse had 11, or 10% of his catches, while Gronkowski had 7, or more than 15% of his catches. That seems significant to me.
In Superbowl LV, Kelce was targeted 15 times, caught 10 passes for 133 yards, or 13.3 yards per case. and no touchdowns.
Gronkowski caught the first 6 of 7 passes Brady thrown toward him for 67 yards, or 11.2 yards per catch, and two first half touchdowns. The score was 21 to 6 as half time and Kansas City ended up behind by 19 points at the end of the third quarter and 22 points at the end of the game, as no Kansas City Chief scored a touchdown and Mahomes threw two interceptions while Brady threw none.
Did Brady and Gronkowski lull Kansas City into believing that Gronkowski was pretty much Brady's bodyguard since coming out of retirement in 2020 and no longer one of his clutch receivers?
You be the judge.
In three playoff games won by Tampa Bay, Gronkowski caught only two of seven Brady passes for 43 yards and no touchdowns. Gronkowski was not Brady's go to guy in those playoff games, with one revealing exception. When Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers were working on a comeback in the second half and Tampa Bay had the ball in its territory and needed a first down to keep the ball for awhile and add a few points, Brady threw a short pass to Gronkowski and he smoothly shifted from blocker to receiver and made a 29 yard gain and first down that put Tampa Bay in position to run time off the clock and add three points to its total. That shift of field position mattered.
Those who thought that Gronkowski was no longer Brady's clutch receiver should have realized that with a seventh Superbowl ring at stake the GOAT would go to Gronkowski. Of Brady's 29 passes, he completed 21 and 6 of them (24%) went to Gronkowski for 67 yards and those two first half touchdowns.
Likewise it should not come as a shock that the Buccaneer who caught 5 of Brady's Superbowl LV passes including Brady's third first half touchdown pass was veteran Antonio Brown.
Brady plays to win and knows how to do it. He threw 29 passes to 10 teammates, but it was Superbowl LV and most of his completions were to Gronkowski and Brown. Obviously a winning strategy!
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.