13. Rob Gronkowski’s legend grows on and off-the-field
The fall hasn’t been nearly as much fun as the “Summer of Gronk,” but NFL megastar Rob Gronkowski was in the spotlight all year long for on and off-field antics.
Despite being out since breaking his forearm on Nov. 18, Gronk remains one of the league’s most popular players.
Gronkowski entered 2012 coming off a season that saw the tight end catch 90 passes for NFL single-season tight end records of 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns, but he was also coming off an ankle injury suffered in the AFC Championship Game. While the Patriots prepared to face the Giants in the Super Bowl, football fans speculated about Gronkowski’s ability to be at full strength. Gronk was part of Tom Brady’s arsenal for the big game in Indianapolis, but was largely ineffective.
After the crushing loss the Giants, a shirtless Gronkowski was spotted on YouTube dancing the night away at the Patriots postgame party. Then he appeared nearly naked on the cover of ESPN The Magazine’s “body issue.” Add in an appearance on a TV dating show, getting paid five figures to star and shotgun beer at a 21st birthday party, winning a celebrity home run derby in Buffalo, NY, acting up on the red carpet of the ESPY Awards, and signing a six-year, $54 million contract extension with the Patriots — the richest contract for a tight end in NFL history — and you have The Summer of Gronk.
Yo Soy Fiesta time continued at the start of this season with Gronk racking up the catches and spiking the mike and imitating the “dude that guards the house” during the Patriots’ trip to London.
Before Gronkowski was injured on an extra-point play against the Colts, he had scored 10 touchdowns to go along with 53 receptions and 748 yards.
Now Patriot Nation anxiously awaits his return with another Super Bowl in New England’s sights.
“I'm anxious to get out there,” Gronkowski said. “Obviously I want to go."