Rob Gronkowski broke his forearm on an extra point with 3:55 left that put the Patriots up 59-24, and today some people are hammering Bill Belichick for keeping him in the game.But in reality the Gronk injury was just a freak thing, and there’s nothing the Pats could have done to avoid it. Peter King explains:
Coaches have 45 active players each game. They don’t have a “second team” of the point-after-try unit. The PAT is one of the most risk-free plays in football. Rodney Harrison, the former Patriots safety now in the NBC studio with me on Sunday nights, didn’t get taken off the kickoff team in routs. And Tony Dungy, who coached the Colts and Bucs, told me: “Jeff Saturday was my right guard on the PAT team, and I’d never think of taking him off. All my years in football, I never heard anyone, never heard Chuck Noll saying, ‘Well, we better get Jack Ham off the PAT team.’ It’s not something I’d question.”
But given Belichick’s penchant for beating the life out of teams, people are still saying Gronk’s injury was a direct result of Belichick’s bloodlust. Here’s George Bretherton of the New York Times:
Was it wise to have one of the league’s most valuable players (Gronkowski) lined up for a play at what was essentially a meaningless point in the game?
But even if the injury causes him to miss the rest of the regular season, it will most likely not change Belichick’s coaching philosophy. And it might even result in a fine from the league office.
Twitter was also in a bit of a tizzy over the supposed karmic nature of the injury.
It’s true that New England kept its foot on the gas longer than the normal team yesterday, but it’s not all that egregious that Gronk was on the field for a seemingly harmless play.
There’s no official word on how long Gronk will be out, but King says it’ll be a month or so.
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