When the Patriots entered the AFC championship game 2 weeks ago, I doubt that they were overly concerned with anything other than the Baltimore Ravens. It would be interesting to ask them today how their game plan changed after Gronkowski was hurt in the AFC championship game. The Patriots seemed to assess their chances as being better in the Super Bowl with Gronkowski than without him.
The Patriots spent the majority of the next two weeks trying to get Gronkowski fit and healthy enough to participate. I am not foolish enough to believe that Bill Belichick did not address the injury with his team, but I am curious how things would have gone if the players were not aware of his status. Many times, teams struggle to not entertain “what if” scenarios or hypothetical situations. The Patriots needed to assess the possibility that they may have been better off without their injured superstar. Two weeks is plenty of time to plan for a team good enough to make the Super Bowl.
It became apparent throughout the course of the game that Gronkwoski would be a factor in the same way that he was during the rest of the season. He alleviated a great deal of the pressure that was on the wide receiver core, and it was apparent that they could not compensate for his loss. I wonder if the Patriots would have been better off cutting their losses, and creating a game plan that was honest in terms of its evaluation of their strengths and weaknesses. This assessment is valuable, not only for athletic teams, but for any group. An honest evaluation of the situation is the only way to begin working toward the group’s goals. Based on the game on Sunday, it does not seem that the Patriots were able to completely shelve their wishful thinking.