The New England Patriots’ star tight end Rob Gronkowski, the NFL’s leading TE for both receiving yards and touchdowns, broke his forearm Sunday in the final minutes of a 59-24 Indianapolis Colts blowout. Is it wise for coaches to leave starters in games that appear out of reach?
Football is a very physical game, and injuries happen. If coaches planned games to avoid injuries, they would not be able to get the best out of their players’ abilities. Gronkowski could have broken his arm on the game’s first extra point attempt.
I love to see teams get crushed as much as the next person, but I don’t believe it should come at the expense of your star player’s health. Some coaches put a lot of stock into blowouts and statement games, but they are worth as much as a 1-point victory. Sending a message to the rest of the league couldn’t possibly be worth costing your team a chance at a playoff run.
Bill Belichick has gotten many things right over the years, but he is wrong when it comes to leaving star players in games. It’s one thing to respect your opponent and persevere despite the score, but it’s another to keep your best players in a game that is far out of reach in either fashion. There is no reason why Gronkowski should have been in the game. Belichick has always been proud and has stuck to his bizarre procedures for years, but he should rethink his position before Tom Brady finds himself on the bench next to the tight end.