Gronk Fuels AFC Championship Overtime Win to Send Patriots to Third Straight Super Bowl
Posted by: Gronkowski
We’re going to the Super Bowl, we’re going to the Super Bowl, we’re going to the Super Bowl!!!
OK, now we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can all sit back and marvel at the phenomena that was the AFC Championship Game Sunday night that ended with the Patriots’ thrilling 37-31 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Gronk proved to be the extra fire power that the Pats desperately needed when history was on the line once again. On the field for all 97 snaps, he had six catches for 79 yards and continued in his formidable role as an unstoppable blocker.
As fans lost their minds with excitement about a trip to Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII, Rob’s Patriots teammates raved about his performance.
“I’m so proud of Gronk, going out there making crazy plays,” Julian Edelman gushed. “It was awesome to see the big fella go out and do that.”
“He caught the fade on Eric (Berry) and then caught the slant,” Tom Brady said after the game, according to ESPN. That 25-yard catch in coverage set up a late fourth-quarter touchdown, and then Gronk sealed the deal with a 15-yard catch on third-and-10 on the game-winning drive of overtime.
“He was playing his butt off. He has done that all year. He is out there, and whatever we ask him to do, he does with an enthusiasm about him. He is an incredible teammate and person. The kind of guy he is -- I know everybody doesn’t know him personally -- but he is just a great man. Just so happy to have been able to play with him for as long as we have.”
Brady immortalized the OT miracle with the dopest, smuggest Instagram video ever showing him and Rob (wearing his new AFC Champions hat and tee) walking through the corridors of Gillette grinning like two cheeky kids to the soundtrack of P. Diddy’s “Bad Boy for Life.”
If you’re not familiar with it, the lyrics go: “We ain't, go-in nowhere, we ain't, goin nowhere. We can't be stopped now, cause it's Bad Boy for life …” It certainly feels like that right about now.
How Big Rob felt about possibly the greatest championship game ever? “It felt good,” he said simply, according to Patriots.com. “The way the guys have been fighting all year long - the way we fought this game - I couldn't be more proud to be on this team. I'm more proud to be out here with the boys--how hard we just kept fighting. Defense, offense, special teams, a victory on the road, AFC Championship Game. It was one of my sweeter victories, definitely, in my career."
As for coming up clutch for Tom when he really needed him, Gronk explained: “It's crunch time - you make the play or you're done, you're out of the playoffs. It's huge. It's the trust that we have in each other. We love playing with each other - just the bond we have to always be on the same page when we need to be is huge."
Just like in Super Bowl LI when they broke the Atlanta Falcons' spirit in overtime, there was never any doubt in the minds of the players that they’d win. “We knew if we kept fighting that we were going to put up a battle. We were giving all we had. I'm pretty sure everyone on the team gave it all we had today. That's all we can ask for, and in the end, the results came out great. We were battling the whole game--first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, fourth quarter and overtime. We were preparing all year for situations like this--conditioning levels--and it all pays off and shows with a victory like this."
We gave it everything we got and now, we're headed to Atlanta baby!! Rep Pats Nation with this awesome
As for his duel roles as receiver and blocker, Gronk is ready and willing to do whatever is asked of him. “It's just basically what the doctor orders. Or what the coach orders--coach/doctor orders," he luahged. "Whatever it is. I have to block, I have to receive. It's crucial. The team depends on me in many situations in the run game and in the pass game. I've just been fighting all year long so when situations come like this I'm ready to go and ready to make some plays. So whatever coaches ask me to do I'm always down to try my best and give it my all,” he told reporters.
While Arrowhead wasn't hit by an Arctic Blast as predicted, it was damn cold with temperatures dropping to 19 degrees. Fortunately the Gronk Nation cheer squad came up with a meow-velous way to keep warm.
When asked in the postgame press conference if Gronk and Edelman were two of the toughest players out there, Bill Belichick agreed, then diplomatically heaped praise on everyone else, too.
“You can name 40 other guys too. I would name all 46 guys that were active and all 53 players on the roster,” he said. “There are a lot of mentally tough players in that locker room. There are a lot of physically tough players in that locker room, a lot of guys that just go out there and compete and won’t quit and just battle you no matter the situation. They just go out there an compete and let the chips fall where they may and I think that is a good way to do it.”
The Pats are now heading to their third straight Super Bowl, their fourth in five years, and their ninth in the Brady-Belichick era (more than twice as many as any other duo in the NFL ever).
This will be the 9th Super Bowl appearance by the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick tandem, more than twice as many as any other duo in NFL history. pic.twitter.com/lJUpU4MCFo— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 21, 2019
They’re currently favored by two points over the Los Angeles Rams, with the 17 year age difference between Brady and Jared Goff being the biggest in Super Bowl history.
And if you wondered where Matthew Slater learned his winning coin toss habit of always calling heads – it was ironically from the Rams!
“Well, I remember as a child watching my father play in LA and him going out and doing the coin toss for the Rams,’’ Slater said, according to Boston.com. “He always called heads, so I asked him one time, ‘Hey, why do you do that? What’s the story behind that?’ I think anyone who knows my family knows faith is important to us, and for him, he was always like, ‘You know, God’s the head of my life, so I call heads.’ That was something he came up with, and I’ve kind of just embraced it.
“I’m glad it’s worked out for us here the last couple times when we needed it,’’ he added.
Jackie Slater was an offensive tackle for the Rams for 20 years, but he’s all in on the Patriots now.
“He’s going to support his son, so we cleared the air on that last night, and we’re all squared away,” Slater Jr. explained.
Let’s hope they don’t need a coin toss at the end of regulation time for Super Bowl LIII as we don’t think our nerves could take it.
If you are going out to Atlanta to join in the fun, we highly recommend flying JetBlue, the official airline of the Patriots and hilarious to boot.
In their announcement of extra flights to the home of the Falcons, the official JetBlue Twitter account posted this dig: "Hey New England – we just added a few more flights to Atlanta for the big game. More than 3. Fewer than 28." And yes, there is also a Flight No. 2803.
Hey New England – we just added a few more flights to Atlanta for the big game. More than 3. Fewer than 28. https://t.co/D1BT2bY4z0— JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue) January 21, 2019
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