Rob Gronkowski doesn’t need a reason to celebrate, but a milestone birthday is certainly a good excuse.
The former Patriots tight end turned 30 on Tuesday, a little less than two months after he announced his retirement from the NFL after nine seasons and three Super Bowl wins with New England.
LOL we’re gonna miss this guy.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) May 14, 2019
Here we take a look at some facts about Gronkowski — with the help of our colleagues at Opta. (If you like what you see here, give @OptaJerry — the official Twitter page for Opta’s NFL and NCAA stats-driven football coverage — a follow on Twitter.)
30 Opta facts for Rob Gronkowski’s 30th birthday
1. Gronkowski had four seasons with 1,000-plus receiving yards, the most ever for a tight end.
2. He is the postseason leader among tight ends in catches (81), receiving yards (1,163) and receiving touchdowns (12).
3. Only Jerry Rice has more receiving touchdowns in the postseason than Gronkowski.
4. Gronkowski is one of two players in Super Bowl history with 20-plus catches (he has 23), 200-plus yards (has 297) and 3-plus receiving touchdowns (has 3). The other is Jerry Rice.
5. Gronkowski scored 17 touchdowns in 2011, the most ever by a tight end.
6. Only two players have ever had more touchdown catches in a single season than Gronkowski (Randy Moss – 23 in 2007 and Jerry Rice – 22 in 1987).
7. Since he entered the league in 2010, only four players have more games with 100-plus receiving yards and multiple touchdowns than Gronkowski, who has seven. The four players: Antonio Brown, Jordy Nelson, Calvin Johnson, and Julio Jones.
8. Gronkowski caught touchdown passes from just two quarterbacks in his career: Tom Brady (79) and Jimmy Garoppolo (one).
9. He averaged 9.9 yards per target in his career, the most of any player since 1992 (min. 225 targets).
10. His final catch was a 29 yarder in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl that set up a touchdown for New England. Only four of his receptions in 2018 covered more yards.
11. Gronkowski had 12 receiving touchdowns against Buffalo in his career, his most against any opponent.
12. He had eight receiving touchdowns in his career against the Steelers, his most against any team outside the AFC East.
13. He played just five games in his career without a catch (including playoffs).
14. He had three games with 150-plus receiving yards, the most ever for a tight end.
15. Gronkowski caught five-plus passes in 56 games, the sixth-most ever by a tight end.
16. He finished with a career-best 168 receiving yards on Dec. 17, 2017, against Pittsburgh.
17. Caught a career-best 11 passes on Oct. 25, 2015, against the New York Jets.
18. He finished with 16 games with multiple touchdown receptions, the second most of any TE all time.
19. Four teams have given up multiple touchdowns in multiple games to Gronkowski: Buffalo (three times), the Jets (three), Indianapolis (two) and Pittsburgh (two).
20. He caught three touchdowns in three games. Antonio Gates, who has also done so in three games, is the only other tight end with multiple such games.
21. Had four touchdowns that went 50-plus yards, the longest being this 76-yarder against the Giants in 2015.
22. His only career rush was for two yards and a touchdown in 2011 against the Colts.
23. His 80 career touchdowns are more than double of the next closest NFL alumni from the University of Arizona (Vance Johnson – 37).
24. His 7,861 career receiving yards are 2,166 more than any other Arizona alum (Vance Johnson – 5,695).
25. Gronkowski is one of three Patriots players to win the Pro Football Writers’ Comeback Player of the Year award (did so in 2014), joining Randy Moss (2007) and Tom Brady (2009). Gronk, Brady and Tedy Bruschi (2005) all won the AP Comeback Player of the Year award.
26. Gronkowski appeared in five Pro Bowls, the seventh-most ever by a tight end.
27. He caught a career-best 90 passes in 2011. At the time, it was the 13th most in a single season by a tight end.
28. He tallied 1,327 receiving yards in 2011, which at the time was the most ever by a tight end. Two players have broken this mark since then (George Kittle and Travis Kelce, both in 2018).
29. Gronkowski is one of two Patriots players with 1,100-plus receiving yards in consecutive seasons, along with Wes Welker.
30. He was taken with the 42nd overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, tied for the 20th-highest position an Arizona Wildcat has been taken in the draft. He is the second-highest drafted Wildcat to be drafted by the Patriots (linebacker Chris Singleton was taken eighth overall in the 1990 NFL Draft).