Rob Gronkowski has a new quarterback in mind besides Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar Tom Brady.
Gronkowski caught a ball that dropped 600 feet from a helicopter on April 23 at the University of Arizona, setting a world record, qualifying him for the Guinness Book of World Records. He came back to Arizona where he played college football to coach the Wildcats’ spring game on April 24.
“The helicopter is now my new quarterback because it can throw bigger passes and bigger bombs than he can,” Gronkowski wittingly told the Pac-12 Network.
“Mr. World Record Breaker Wildcat in the house,” Gronkowski wrote on Instagram.
Brady didn’t know about it at first but soon commented on Gronkowski’s post.
“Not sure I’ve ever seen you drop anything,” Brady replied.
Gronkowski’s catch got the Wildcats players pumped up as they swarmed him after making the record grab.
“Every time you step on the field, you’ve got to raise that bar to another level, baby,” Gronkowski told the team in the catch video. “And I just raised that bar to this level.”
Gronkowski Didn’t Catch the First Ball Drop
Gronkowski missed on the first try but gained confidence from getting close.
“I almost had the first one, and after the first one, I knew that I could do it,” Gronkowski told the Pac-12 Network. “I had a couple tries, and I got it down and made the catch and got that world record.”
“It was kind of hard to track because I have never had my head straight up like that before,” Gronkowski said. “So, usually every catch I have is at an angle, so it was a little different, and going up 600 feet where it was coming down from, I’ve never really had to track a ball like that.”
Gronkowski coached against Brady’s former New England Patriots teammate, Tedy Bruschi, who retired before the Patriots drafted Gronkowski in 2010. Bruschi played at Arizona from 1991 to 1995, and Gronkowski played there from 2007 to 2009.
Arizona added Gronkowski to its ring of honor at the game, which Gronkowski tweeted, “what an honor. Thank you.” The Wildcats honored Bruschi in 2013 when he became a member of the College Football Hall of Fame per Arizona Sports 98.7. Bruschi began serving as a senior advisor to Arizona coach Jedd Fisch this year. Gronkowski hadn’t been back to Arizona in a decade according to the Pac-12 Network.
“I’ve been waiting to come back, too. It just hasn’t been working, you know, I’m playing football and stuff, but it’s just important to come back,” Gronkowski told the Pac-12 Network. “This is where I started getting recognized from the NFL.”
Gronkowski’s Trick Play and ‘W’
If Gronkowski ever takes on coaching long-term after his Bucs days, there’s some film out. He had the Wildcats’ red team execute a trick play, which helped the team win 17-13.
“Proud of you tricksters team red, and a 10-for-10 on the Gronk spike,” Gronkowski said in his post.
Gronkowski also caught an honorary winning touchdown at the end of the game before getting a Gatorade bath from his team.
“We’re having a lot of fun out here,” Gronkowski told the Pac-12 Network at halftime of the spring game. “Jedd’s (Fisch) just doing a great job just changing the atmosphere around here. It’s just a lot of energy, and Jedd’s bringing a lot of energy to the table, too. Just looking at the players playing out here playing in the spring game, they’re just having a blast and playing hard, too, and they’re making plays.”
The fun included a water balloon fight that went on between the teams and the fans, known as the ZonaZoo.
“That’s why I’m drenched right now,” Gronkowski said.
He hopes the fun will continue as the Wildcats look to revive a program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2017, which included an 0-5 mark in 2020.
“It’s been a couple of rough seasons. I’m ready to see it amp up to another level,” Gronkowski told the Pac-12 Network.