Rob Gronkowski certainly has a legitimate case as the greatest tight end of all time, but who are some of his primary challengers in NFL history?
It’s not a matter of if recently-retired Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will make it into the NFL Hall of Fame, so much as it’s a matter of when he’ll do it. The great debate right now is whether Gronkowski is a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer, or if it might take a few tries for the big fella out of the University of Arizona to don a gold jacket.
Supporters point to the way he took the tight end position to the greatest heights imaginable, excelling as both a blocker and a receiver while proving to be an utter mismatch nightmare on the field. Detractors point to a short, injury-riddled career that only spanned nine years and pales in statistical comparison to some of the players he’ll inevitably be held up against.
All manner of members from the NFL brotherhood took to social media to congratulate Gronkowski on a memorable playing career. Many lauded him for exiting on his own terms, and a recurring trend across many of the posts were animated goat emojis and repeated use of hashtags like “#HOF”, “#FirstBallot”, and “#GOAT”.
Clearly, there are numerous respected members within the football community who believe that Gronk represented the epitome of the tight end position, and deserves to be recognized as such by finding immortalization in Canton. But when it comes to G.O.A.T. status – being declared the “greatest of all time” – is Gronkowski deserving of that title, or are there others who should challenge him?
Honorable Mention: John Mackey, Kellen Winslow, Mike Ditka, Dave Casper, Charlie Sanders, Jackie Smith