BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) Rob Gronkowski played in this year’s Super Bowl after missing last year’s game with a bad comeback. Zach Ertz has the opportunity to be matched with his wife, Julie, a soccer star who has won the world championship.
Super Bowl 52 could end which of these great tight endings shines brighter.
Both have similar stats and influence their luck this season.
Gronkowski led the New England Patriots with 69 catches from 1,084 yards and eight touches.
Ertz leads the Philadelphia Eagles with 74 catches for 824 yards and eight TDs – double his previous career best.
Ertz also had 11 125-meter catches in the knockout stages and Gronkowski had seven 102-meter catches and one touchdown in the knockout stages despite missing most of the AFC championship against Jacksonville. after making a stroke from wearing a helmet. Barry’s Church before recess.
That led to concerns Gronkowski could miss his second straight Super Bowl. He was sidelined in last year’s 34-28 extra-time win over Atlanta after undergoing surgery on his back.
Gronk, however, returned to practice Thursday and said he’s “ready to roll” after clearing the concussion protocol.
He said he never doubted he would get to play on Sunday.
“There is no reason to be disappointed,” said Gronkowski. “We’ve got an extra week, which is fantastic.”
The return of the tight ending All-Pro brings brave cat another key pick against a puny defense of the Eagles ranked fourth in the league.
“He is a dynamic player. He means a lot to our offense. He really has been doing so since he came to our team. It’s always great when he’s out there,” Brady said.
“I played with him for a long time, I threw him a lot of football stuff. He knows exactly what to do, he knows where to expect the ball, when to expect it. He is just an outstanding player for our team. ”
Ertz is also important to Nick Foles and the Eagle’s offense.
The fifth-year professional made his first Pro Bowl of the season, leading all of the NFC-tough results in receptions. He scored eight more catches for 93 yards in the NFC championship game against Minnesota.
Despite his abrupt and post-season run, Ertz knows he won’t be the best finisher on the field on Sunday. Gronkowski led all of the NFL’s tight finishes by receiving yards for the fourth time.
Gronk is the gold standard.
“He’s a beast after being caught, I think that kind of sets him apart from all the other tight endings,” Ertz said. “And he can also be open even when he is not open because he has a big frame and extremely good playing skills. And obviously Tom Brady is also a phenomenal full-back, but even without Tom, I think he would still be doing the same things no matter where he is. ”
Ertz also knew the numbers from the top of his head.
“He has all the tight (single-season) records in the league,” Ertz said. He has yards – 1,327 – and he has touches – 17 – he’s just a phenomenal player. ”
With a pair of Super Bowl rings.
It’s what Ertz really wants, a world championship like the one his wife won in 2015 as a quarterback for the World Cup-winning US national soccer team.
“Julie won the World Cup two years ago,” Ertz said, “so I need to try to close my deal.”
The NFL couple “It” got married last March after a romance that began when Julie, then Julie Johnston, was an up-and-coming soccer star in Santa Clara and Zach was playing at Stanford.
The two fell apart when the Eagles took their spot in the Super Bowl with a 38-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Julie was in San Diego for the national team’s game against Denmark. She was among the scorers in the 5-1 win.
Then, when she heard that Zach would be attending the Super Bowl, she burst into tears.
“Zach clearly knows I am there in spirit and I am praying for him and I am so excited for him and cheering him on from miles away,” she said.
“It’s part of our job and we sacrifice a lot, and timing is the biggest thing. But to know that they’re going to be in the Super Bowl is amazing, exciting, emotional. It’s great to see your loved one’s hard work paying off. ”
Ertz said it was difficult for him to watch the other players celebrate with their wives “but watching that video showed me that she was also having a hard time not being there.
“And it’s just as difficult for us when we’re not together as it’s always been when we’re not together. But now that she’s here, I’m lucky she’s here. I’m so lucky she’s here and I’m so excited I hope to be able to experience that again. ”
AP Sports writer Anne M. Peterson contributed.
Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
https://nfl.nbcsports.com/2018/02/02/super-bowl-52-might-come-down-to-gronk-or-ertz/ Super Bowl 52 could meet Gronk or Ertz