The NFL season is slowly winding down and there are only four teams left to compete for the Super Bowl title. Among those teams are the New England Patriots, top seed in the AFC and defending world champions. The Patriots advanced to the conference title round behind a highly-potent offense, their typical bend-but-don't-break style of defense, and one of the top special teams units in all of football.
Naturally, you would therefore expect the team to be well represented on the season-end lists that are on vogue this late in the NFL year. And indeed, two members of the team received another honor today: After being voted first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press earlier this month, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski were both named All-NFL by the Pro Football Writers of America.
Neither of the two selections is a surprise: Brady is the front runner for the league MVP trophy after a regular season during which he led the number two scoring offense in the NFL and completed 385 of 581 passing attempts for 4,577. Furthermore, the greatest quarterback of all time threw 32 touchdown compared to only eight interceptions. For Brady, it is the third time being named All-NFL.
Gronkowski, for comparison, is part of the team for the fifth time. Like Brady, he has been dominant all year long and finished the regular season with 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns. Besides being one of the biggest receiving mismatches in the league, the 28-year old is also one of its best blocking tight ends – a true tight end that is versatile no matter how his usage looks like.
Brady and Gronkowski – surprise, surprise – are also part of the PFWA's All-AFC team. The duo is joined by two more Patriots: Special teams ace Matthew Slater is named to the All-conference squad for the seventh season in a row, while running back Dion Lewis is a first-time selection as a kick returner.