Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski owns several NFL records, and one of them is likely to be broken Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers take on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.
49ers tight end George Kittle has become arguably the best tight end in the league, and his unique blend of great size, strength and overall football talent have drawn many comparisons to Gronkowski.
Kittle is very close to breaking one of Gronkowski's records in Sunday's matchup at Levi's Stadium. In fact, he needs just 26 receiving yards to do it. Here are the details, per NFL Research:
George Kittle (@gkittle46) needs 26 receiving yards to pass @RobGronkowski (2,986) for most by a TE in his first 3 seasons in NFL history (incl. playoffs)— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) January 15, 2020
Kittle had 129 yards in Week 12 vs the #Packers, the most GB has allowed to a TE in the last 5 seasons#GoNiners | @49ers
Kittle finished the 2019 regular season with 85 receptions for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns. These are pretty good stats, but he was mostly ineffective as a receiver in the NFC Divisional Round versus the Minnesota Vikings. Kittle caught only three passes for 16 yards in the win over Minnesota. Kittle, like Gronk, is a tremendous run blocker, and that's really where he made his mark against the Vikings.
Gronkowski not only put up Hall of Fame-worthy stats, he also shined brightest in the playoffs. He tallied 81 receptions for 1,163 yards and 12 touchdowns in 16 career postseason games. Kittle is a tremendous player, but he cannot be compared to Gronkowski until he starts dominating when the stakes are highest.