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Gronk’s Suspension is Good for the Pats

Patriots fans began making excuses for tight end Rob Gronkowski immediately after he inflicted his forearm pile-driver to the back of Tre’Davious White’s helmet in the fourth quarter of yesterday’s win over Buffalo.  

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He got mugged on the play and there was no call”,“he was frustrated because the refs have a different set of rules for him” and “other guys have done worse and haven’t been suspended” are some of the more popular excuses being expressed on social media and Boston sports radio. 

They might all be true, but none are an excuse for Gronkowski’s actions.  Frustration is no excuse to strike a defenseless person who is already lying face down on the ground.  There is no place for that in football at any level, and Patriot fans, who revel in being a class above all other organized sports teams, should hold their players to a higher standard.  Gronkowski at a minimum deserved a hefty fine, and a one game suspension should not be considered unfair treatment.

Reports on the suspension state Gronkowski will appeal the decision.  This author thinks Gronk should take his one week vacation and head for a beach somewhere tropical and consider himself lucky.  It could have been worse, and it may actually be beneficial for the Patriots. 

Injuries are always a concern with Gronkowski, who has not played a full season since 2011, his second season in the NFL.  He has only recently begun to show signs of returning to form after a slow start to the season following back surgery which sidelined him from last years’ Super Bowl run.  A week off at this point in the season will help keep him fresh for the stretch drive and playoff run.

Another reason Gronkowski should sit out the next game is the Patriot opponent next week – the always “aggressive” Miami Dolphins.  The Dolphins are known for taking cheap shots on defense, and they have nothing left to play for this season.  It would be no surprise if Patriot players are on the receiving end of late hits and cheap shots from Dolphin players who would love to derail the Patriot run at another Super Bowl.  The Patriots should otherwise have no problem with the Dolphins, so why risk Gronkowski?

Still another reason to have Gronk sit out against the Dolphins is the Patriots’ opponent the following week – the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The Steelers are the only test remaining on the Patriots schedule, and, assuming each wins out over the remainder of the schedule, the winner will be the number one seed in the AFC with home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  Even with a Patriot loss to Miami next week, a win over Pittsburgh would give the Patriots a tie-breaker at the end of the season if both end up tied for best overall record. 

In five career regular season games against Pittsburgh, Gronkowski has 30 receptions for 496 yards and eight touchdowns.  The Patriots need Gronkowski against the Steelers far more than they do to beat the Dolphins.  A week off should only make him more dangerous.  Here’s hoping he channels that frustration in a way that won’t get him into more trouble.

Follow Bill on Twitter @BTravers_BSoT. 

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