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Playing the 'What-if?' game: Rob Gronkowski want ball

I was watching the New England Patriots Sunday afternoon a close eye, my loud mouth hoping for former Arizona Wildcats tight end Rob Gronkowski to get some Tom Brady passes thrown his way. 

After catching 546 yards and 10 touchdowns in his rookie season -- one where I took a fantasy football risk on Gronk -- I had every right to be excited.

At work, I'm sure I said "Gronk want ball" more than enough to the point of annoying my coworkers. It's fair to say I'm a fan of the guy. But I later found a note, likely written to someone within my hearing distance, that said if I failed to use an article in describing my desire for Gronkowski to receive the ball one more time, they would either go insane or shoot me.

It was a joke ... I think. Anyway, I don't really care, because Rob Gronkowski is the reason we love football. He's pure power, speed and will. He also happens to be football savvy enough to make him one of Brady's favorite targets in just his second season.

And he could've still been at Arizona.

How much would that have changed the fortunes of this year's team?

I know, there's no point in playing the "What-if?" game when he was too talented to stick around for even a third year of actually playing. Remember, he didn't play his junior year because of a back injury. Still, had he taken a redshirt to preserve two more seasons at Arizona, this team would probably certainly be better off in the red zone. Maybe that equals a win or two more. 

Maybe that equals Stoops still having a job.

It's the bruising playmaker on either side of the ball that's made Arizona a ghost of what could have been in my eyes. Especially without the electricity of Juron Criner thanks to injuries and a poorly-timed appendectomy, it's the key ingredient missing for the Wildcats this season.

Stoops losing the team because players weren't having fun also had something to do with it, as did the flood of ACL tears on the defense.

If only there was a Gronkowski, a player with talent that you couldn't sensationalize nearly enough to be lying, on this roster. Arizona would be in a different place.

It's kind of fun to think about the potential for what could have been -- it's also a wee bit disappointing to know the Wildcats missed out on one, if not two, more scintillating years of Gronk.

'Tis a shame.