It shouldn’t come as a big surprise, but the New England Patriots have three representatives on the NFL’s all-decade team on offense, quarterback Tom Brady, offensive guard Logan Mankins and tight end Rob Gronkowski.
One could easily make the argument the New England Patriots have not only been the team of the last decade, but the team of the century so far after winning six Super Bowls since 2000.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise the Pats are well represented with the NFL announcing it’s all-time team on offense this week.
There’s not much to be said about Brady’s addition. While Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers surely deserves to be on the list, Brady cemented his legacy as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, being the one on-field constant during New England’s glory years and being arguably the key reason why the Patriots were able to climb to the No. 1 spot in Super Bowl victories.
Especially in such a short span.
Likewise, Gronkowski’s placement makes a ton of sense, although it’s a bit of a question mark why he wasn’t a unanimous selection. After all, Gronk set the single-season record for most receiving yards by a tight end (1,327) in 2012, which stood until the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce and the San Francisco 49ers’ George Kittle broke it in 2018.
Pair Gronkowski’s five Pro Bowl nods and four first-team All-Pro selections during that span, and one can only wonder why the future Hall of Famer wasn’t unanimous. But at least he’s on there.
While the star players are important, a big reason behind New England’s success over the last decade stemmed from the effectiveness along the line of scrimmage, so it’s great to see Mankins make the list. He’s deserving of it.
Mankins was a perennial Pro Bowler during his nine-year career with the Patriots. And he was still performing well late in his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, earning another Pro Bowl nod in 2015, his final season in the league.
It was a bit of a shock not to see wide receiver Julian Edelman on the list, considering just how valuable a piece he has been during New England’s Super Bowl runs. Tack on the fact he reached the 1,000-yard receiving plateau three times during the decade, while narrowly missing out on a fourth in 2014, and one can see why it might be a bit of a snub.
Pushing out the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Antonio Brown, Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald, Detroit Lions’ Calvin Johnson and the Atlanta Falcons’ Julio Jones would have been a tall order, however, so maybe it makes some moderate sense.
New England is tied for the most representatives on the offensive side of the ball with the Philadelphia Eagles, who also had three players named.
So that’s quite the accomplishment for the Pats, too.
And one can hope the Patriots wind up putting a few more players on this list once the team of the 2020s is announced 10 years from now.