Heading into the AFC Championship game, part of the routine is trash talking between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots. Be it about how to tackle Rob Gronkowski (hint: go low) or whether Tom Brady complains too much to referees, there’s plenty to gorge on for those who can’t wait for the actual game to start.
The Brady comment seems to come every year from someone who thinks making fun of the Patriots or quarterback is somehow a good way to throw the Patriots off their game. This time it was Antonio Smith of the Broncos, calling Brady a crybaby. Why? Because he thinks there is no quarterback in the league who spends so much time looking at the referees after he’s been sacked, waiting for some sort of unnecessary roughness call or flag to come out.
But while suggesting Brady is the master of complaining to officials, Smith does think he’s one heck of a competitor. Rattling him just isn’t an option. Brady takes a hit, complains, but keeps on ticking and playing like nothing has happened, maybe even better than before. Smith summarized his feelings about the Patriots quarterback, who is trying to become the first quarterback ever with five Super Bowl rings, quite well with this line: He’s going to cry about getting hit, but he’s going to take the hit and keep going.
But Brady isn’t the only one the Broncos are talking about. The man he likes to throw the ball to more than anyone else, Rob Gronkowski, was mentioned by Chris Harris, the Broncos cornerback. He was asked on SportsCenter on what is the best way to stop the big, almost unstoppable at times tight end. David didn’t need a lot of time to think about his answer: You gotta hit him low. Hit him in his knees. That’s the best chance you have of hitting him. It might sound cheap, but defensive backs trying to tackle Gronkowski high usually ends with him simply shaking them off.
Gronkowski didn’t like the comment, or simply decided to show his sense of humour, which was as developed as someone barely in high school through Twitter. The Broncos responded by posting a video from the NFL Network on how to stop Gronkowski, although the video is mostly showing how the Kansas City Chiefs failed at covering him in the divisional round playoff game.
Gronkowski has had injuries all over his body, including his knees. T.J. Ward, then with the Cleveland Browns, now with the Denver Broncos, tackled him low in 2013 and tore his ACL. This season, when the Patriots played in Denver (and lost to the Broncos) Gronkowski didn’t finish the game, leaving early after taking a hit to the knee from Darian Stewart, which made Gronkowski miss one game. Recently there’s been the talk of Gronkowski pushing off more than others, which might get extra attention from referees this time, and especially from the TV crew.