MIAMI, Fla. (WBAY) - The most important position in football is obviously quarterback, but in today's game there's another position of importance that seems to serve as a prerequisite to Super Bowl success.
You have to have a productive tight end.
Here in Miami we get to see George Kittle and Travis Kelce on the big stage. They rank #1 and #2 all time in the NFL for most yards by a tight end in a single season, with both bettering 1,300 yards in 2018. And as you look at recent champions, you can't help but notice the names, Zach Ertz of the Eagles, and the recently-retired Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots.
"You have to run block, pass block, run routes, read defenses," Kittle said. "You have to do a whole bunch of stuff out there. TIght end play has just evolved rapidly over the last 10 years. If you have a guy that can do everything, it enhances what the offense can do."
"Quarterbacks best friend," said Chiefs coach Andy Reid of tight ends. "If you have a tight end you can trust, as a quarterback that is a great thing."
"There's a lot that goes into having a complete tight end," Kelce said. "You have to have the athletic ability to run with the fast guys and the physicality to grind out a block. That's why I love it. It presents challenges all over the field."
"It is a whole different conditioning level to be able to block and then go out and catch a pass as well," said all-time great Rob Grownkowski. "If you can do both, I'm telling you, it opens up the field for so many other players for so many opportunities too. From running backs to wide receivers, if there is a tight end that can block and catch. I am glad the position is getting the notice it is getting now. And it's nice to see the top 2 tight ends in the game, and with last year as well (me) winning the Super Bowl, it just shows that you need an elite tight end now to compete."
The Packers have taken swings at tight ends in free agency of late, but found little production. Kelce and Kittle have had 1300 yard seasons? The Packers haven't had a tight end even get half that since Jermichael Finley way back 8 years ago. And only once has a Green Bay tight end caught more than 60 passes in a season in franchise history.