New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has a broken arm. It happened when the Patriots kicked an extra point on the final touchdown of a 59-24 stomping of the Indianapolis Colts. Naturally, Gronk's injury touched off a round of moral outrage.
Value judgements are a hot trend in the NFL this year. Two weeks ago we were debating whether or not Charles Tillman had the right to miss work for the birth of his child. Last week, a spate of high-profile concussions sent pundits and fans racing to Twitter and their blogs to stake out positions in the debate over player safety. Sunday night, fans and pundits raced to Twitter to stake out a value judgement on Gronk, Belichick and poetic justice.
"The Belichick Way" may have burned Belichick today. Losing Gronk is a major, major development. Just look at the offense in Super Bowl.— P. Schrager (@PSchrags) November 19, 2012
You can probably save your outrage for worthier causes. Context is everything in the case of Gronkowski's broken arm.
Gronk was in as part of the extra point unit. Tight ends, even top guys like Gronkowski, are often regulars on the special teams units. Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is another example of a star tight end that sees his share of snaps with the other units.
New England ran the ball on eight of the last 10 plays. The last Patriots' touchdown belonged to Shane Vereen, the backup running back. It was the extra point attempt following that touchdown when Gronkowski broke his arm. Belichick playing his star tight end on the extra point team doesn't really qualify as running up the score.
If you just want to kick dirt in Belichick's face, a reasonable exercise for many NFL fans, his decision to put top players at additional risk on special teams is fair game. Then again, can you honestly recall many injuries on an extra point attempt? Probably not.
It's fun to hate on the Patriots, especially if your team has been the subject of one of Bill Belichick's peeping tom practice incursions or some other transgression. However, Gronk's injury is just a fluke thing, not karma.