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Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski: A look back at one of the most successful tandems in NFL

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski after winning Super Bowl LV
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski after winning Super Bowl LV
Rit Nanda
ANALYST

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski combined for their 100th career touchdown, including both the regular season and postseason, against the Dallas Cowboys on the opening night of the 2021 NFL season.

They are now just behind Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison, who have 114 touchdowns. In the process, they passed Steve Young and Jerry Rice for the second-most regular season touchdowns. We look back at their story that began in New England and blossomed in Tampa.

Tom Brady and Rob Grokowski: How it Began

Rob Gronkowski was selected 42nd overall by the New England Patriots in the 2010 NFL draft. He impressed immediately in the pre-season and began as a tight-end in Week 1 of the regular season against the Cincinnati Bengals.

That is where our story begins. Tom Brady threw a one-yard touchdown pass to him for a 38-24 victory. While he impressed during his rookie season, in his second season with the New England Patriots, his relationship with Tom Brady became telepathic.

As a tight end, he had 17 touchdown receptions in the regular season; the first time ever that a tight end had led the league. However, he could not replicate his form in the Super Bowl as they lost to the New York Giants.

He was impressive, but not stellar, during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, but came into his own in the 2014 season, which culminated with the New England Patriots winning the Super Bowl. He had six catches for 68 yards and one touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks.

Perhaps no pass from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski has even been that important since it broke a long drought for the New England Patriots. People forget that between 2004 and 2014, Tom Brady failed to win a single Super Bowl. It was with Rob Gronkowski's help that he was able to launch the second part of his legendary career.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski would win two more Super Bowls, but they did not combine for any touchdowns in any of those victories.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski: How it is going

Rob Gronkowski decided to retire after the 2019 season citing all the injuries he had over the years. But right after Tom Brady signed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, he thought, and rightly so, that his old friend would have recovered enough to come back to the NFL and help him find a focal point in an offense that he was still learning.

It proved an inspired decision as they went all the way, with Tom Brady throwing two touchdown passes to Rob Gronkowski in their 31-9 victory in the Super Bowl over the Kansas City Chiefs. That understanding shows no signs of waning as it carries into this new NFL season.

Edited by Samuel Green
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