The New England Patriots have one of the best offenses in the NFL year in and year out. The biggest reason for that is the play of the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady: The soon-to-be 41-year old has mastered the art of playing the position and routinely helps the unit he guides to be among the most productive in the league. In recent years, though, Brady also had the help of another all-time great: Rob Gronkowski.
The best tight end of his era has been a nightmare to defend ever since joining the Patriots as a second-round draft pick in 2010. Together with Brady, Gronkowski has broken multiple NFL records as the duo quickly grew into one of the most prolific in all of football. How prolific exactly? According to advanced analytics website Pro Football Focus, the Brady-Gronkowski connection has been better than any other over the last decade.
In their seven seasons together years, the future Hall of Fame quarterback targeted the future Hall of Fame tight end a total of 682 times. 68.8% of those pass attempts (or, if we round up, 69) were completed for a combined 7,104 yards as well as 75 touchdowns. Only 11 of the almost 700 throws intended for Gronkowski ended up as interceptions. All in all, this gives the Brady-Gronkowski connection a passer rating of 132.7.
Both number of touchdowns and passer rating lead the NFL since 2008. The San Diego Chargers' Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates come closest in the scores column (71), while Green Bay Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wideout Jordy Nelson are the runners-up in terms of efficiency (128.9). All in all, though, Brady to Gronkowski is the gold standard when it comes to offensive productivity over the last 10 years.
And with both returning for another season – even if they do not participate in voluntary offseason workouts so far – expect them to add to their already spectacular numbers in 2018.