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Patriots' Super Bowl hopes hinged on the fitness of Gronkowski

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New England Patriots are always competitive, or even dominant, in the NFL.

Only once in the past 13 seasons have they won less than ten football games during the regular season.

It's quite an amazing statistic.

Come what may they turn up and play, and the 2014 NFL season is likely to be no different.

Tom Brady is still as dominant as ever, and expect his excellence to shine yet again during the upcoming season.

Nearly men

But for all the Patriots dominance in recent years, they haven't won a Super Bowl since February 2005, when they capped of the 2004 NFL season with the Lombardi Trophy.

Three Super Bowl wins in four years in the early to mid part of the last decade mean that coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady will never be classed as nearly men, but from the 2005 NFL season onwards, that's exactly what the Pats are themselves.

The majority of fans and media in the Boston area at least expected one more Super Bowl to come the Pats way during the last decade. In 2005, Brady looked certain to emulate the four Super Bowl feats of San Francisco 49ers Joe Montana and Pittsburgh Steelers Terry Bradshaw.

But two heartbreaking defeats in the Super Bowl to Eli Manning's New York Giants have clouded the greatness of Brady and co.

The savior

However, there is one player that can propel them to the promised land this season, and that's tight end Rob Gronkowski.

The big man is the most explosive player in the NFL. He is the toughest player for a defense to match-up against, but in the last two seasons he has been plagued by injuries.

Still only 25, Gronkowski's 2011 regular season record showed what the tight end is capable of.

Gronkowski came agonisingly close to pulling off a last second hailmary play for the Pats that year to win the Super Bowl, but it was his regular season stats which we remember the most.

He was just unplayable. Gronkowski caught 90 balls for 1,327 receiving yards. And most importantly he grabbed 17 touchdowns.

The Pats should have really capped of the 2011 NFL season with the Lombardi Trophy, but a nagging ankle sprain meant Gronkowski was subdued.

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Return to greatness

Forearm injuries forced him to have several surgeries that cut his 2012 season short, and then last year he tore his acl and mlc.

Rightly so, some question whether or not he can get back his awesome best.

As the pre-season gets ready to begin, Gronkowski is said be nearing full fitness, according to reports.

Without him, the Pats still managed to make it to the AFC Championship Game. And this writer believes that with a fully fit Gronkowski, the Pats will win the Super Bowl during the 2014 NFL season.

As we've discussed, he's unplayable when he's at his best.

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Tom Brady
Rob Gronkowski
New England Patriots

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