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Ex-Arizona Wildcat Rob Gronkowski comes up just short of history

Rob Gronkowski

If Rob Gronkowski had only been a step closer ... Photo by Richard Mackson, US PRESSWIRE

Former Arizona Wildcat tight end Rob Gronkowski almost made what would have been something like, oh, the greatest play in the history of football.

A Hail Mary to win the Super Bowl?


On third-and-Super Bowl from the New England 49-yard line, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady unleashed a pass into the end zone. Tight end Aaron Hernandez was there — as was a trio of New York Giants defenders — and the ball was batted into the air and slightly back toward the goal line.

Rob Gronkowski

Another look of the final play in Super Bowl XLVI. Photo by Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

If only Gronkowski had been a step closer. Or the ball had been tantalizingly knocked backward just another foot.

Gronkowski was in front of the play, ready for the carom (just like former UA receiver Mike Thomas in a regular-season game with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2010).

Gronk dived … but he couldn’t scoop the ball before it hit the Lucas Oil Stadium turf. Game over. Giants 21, Patriots 17.

Gronkowski — who set NFL regular-season records for a tight end with 1,327 yards and 17 receiving touchdowns — was just a shell of himself in the Super Bowl because of a high ankle sprain suffered two weeks earlier.

Brady threw his way only once in the first half — good for a 20-yard gain — and Gronkowski finished with two catches for 26 yards. Brady tried to find him deep once in the second half, but middle linebacker Chase Blackburn intercepted the underthrown pass.

And so, former Denver Broncos receiver Vance Johnson remains the only former Arizona Wildcat to score a touchdown in the Super Bowl. He caught a 47-yard scoring pass from John Elway in Super Bowl XXI … 25 years ago, as Denver lost to the New York Giants 39-20.

Rob Gronkowski

Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn intercepts this pass intended for Rob Gronkowski in the second half. Photo by Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

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