Odds that Rob Gronkowski doesn't suit up for the New England Patriots against the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday? Slim to none.

Odds that Rob Gronkowski doesn't suit up for the New England Patriots against the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday? Slim to none.


Odds that "The Gronk" impacts the game for the Pats? Does Peyton Manning play for the Indianapolis Colts?


Just kidding! The answer, of course, is good, if not great, if not downright certain.


It's tough to say how much of the frenzy surrounding Gronk's bum ankle is media-generated, how much has been drummed up by design by Bill Belichick and how much actually has anything to do with the condition of his ankle. That being said, if Gronk can walk (and even if he can't), expect him to find his way onto the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.


And if Gronk's on the field, he'll affect the outcome of the game, whether he fills up the stat sheet or not.


Gronk made it abundantly clear with his record-setting year that he's a force to reckoned with at the tight end position and, as a result, he must be accounted for at all times when he's on the field.


At 6'6'', 265 pounds, Gronkowski has the size to run over linebackers across the middle and the speed to split out wide and dominate defensive backs.


In other words, Gronk is a freak of nature and will make that abundantly clear when lines up against a Big Blue defense that he burned for 101 yards and a touchdown on eight catches in early November.


Even if Gronkowski fails to replicate those numbers, he'll still serve as a terrifying decoy who can open things up for the rest of the Pats' pack of talented pass catchers.


Wes Welker, not Gronk, was Tom Brady's favorite target this season, to the tune of an NFL-best 122 catches for an NFL-second-best 1,569 yards and nine touchdowns.


Gronk might not even be the most athletic tight end on New England's roster. Aaron Hernandez could very well have been the one everyone's been talking about as the guy rewriting the record books.


Hernandez, who packs wide receiver speed into a linebacker's body, finished the season with 79 catches for 910 yards and seven touchdowns, despite missing two weeks with a knee injury in September and October.


All of this, and we still haven't said a single word about former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch or Chad Ochocinco.


Because, as great as all of those targets are, it's Gronk who makes this receiving corps go.


The Pats will need him to be a force on the field, directly or indirectly, if they're to avenge their loss to Eli Manning and company in Super Bowl XLII and bring yet another Vince Lombardi Trophy to Beantown.