Merriam-Webster defines "karma" as "the force generated by a person's actions held in Hinduism and Buddhism to perpetuate transmigration and in its ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person's next existence."
The injury to Rob Gronkowski late in the New England Patriots' blowout win over the Indianapolis Colts had many people throwing this term around. In this case, it wasn't Gronk's own actions that were perceived to have resulted in the force that broke his arm. Rather, it was the decision of Patriots coach Bill Belichick to keep his offensive starters on the field deep into the 59-24 rout that had many chalking up the injury to bad karma.
As first reported by Comcast SportsNet New England, Gronkowski suffered a broken forearm while blocking for the extra point attempt following the Pats' eighth touchdown of the game.
The Pats were leading 45-24 before Tom Brady touched the ball in the fourth quarter yet he remained in the game, orchestrating two more touchdown drives. The last drive was capped by the extra point play that resulted in Gronkowski's injury. The Patriots scored their 59th point of the game on that play.
Gronkowski went to the locker room following that PAT and did not return for the team's final offensive possession. Perhaps chastened by the Gronkowski injury, Brady did not play on that last drive. Backup quarterback Ryan Mallet handed the ball off three times before a punt on that final possession. Although the Patriots were characteristically vague about the nature of the injury immediately following the game, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported that Gronkowski would miss 4-6 weeks with the injury.
As news of the severity of Gronkowski's injury spread, many took to social media to blame Belichick for keeping his starters in the game so long and running up the score. Can karma work that way? Regardless of whether it was bad karma or a lack of common sense, some fans and media were not happy with Belichick's decision to play his starters deep into this game.
Should Gronkowski have even been on the field at that point? Should the Patriots still have been tacking on points with the game in hand?