Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski lit up in surprise when asked a question by an unexpected reporter on a Zoom press conference call that went viral.
Gronkowski immediately recognized Boston Herald New England Patriots columnist Karen Guregian on the Zoom call per ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “Where are you, Boston? This crazy, you’re Zooming in our press conferences. This is nuts,” Gronkowski exclaimed.
Gronkowski played nine seasons in New England before joining former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in Tampa in 2020. Guregian asked him how this season’s Bucs offense compares to the best of the Patriots offenses he played with.
“Yeah, I would say it definitely ranks up there if it’s not number one,” Gronkowski said. “I’ve been around a lot of great, talented players, but I would say overall — as a group, from position to position (with) how many guys we have at each position — I would say this definitely ranks up there if it’s not number one for talent as a whole. Yeah, definitely.”
Time for Tom
Gronkowski took on a blocking role in the playoffs instead of catching passes most of the time. Having played 10 seasons with Brady, the former Pro Bowler knows the importance of keeping Brady upright.
“When you protect him and you give him the time, I think it gives him the ability to make the best decision for the team,” Gronkowski said. “I feel like when he has time back there — he’ll hold onto the ball for sure when he has time — but when he’s sitting back there, he’s relaxed and he knows he’s not being pressured. I feel like it gives him the best opportunity to make the best decision on where the ball should go, on who should get the ball, on where the pass should be, on what coverage to read, and all of that.”
It paid off in the Wild Card Round as Brady threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns when Gronkowski blocked most of the time. Washington came in with one of the fiercest pass rushes in the league.
Gronkowski’s blocking helped in the Divisional Round win over the New Orleans Saints, too. Brady had 199 yards passing and two touchdowns. Bucs center Ryan Jensen said it helped the running game, too, per Buccaneers.com’s Scott Smith.
Lambeau Doesn’t Disappoint
Gronkowski looks forward to playing at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field for the second time in his career on Sunday.
“I’ve always ranked Lambeau as one of my top three,” Gronkowski said. “I mean just the atmosphere there is unbelievable — just the way the stadium is built (and) just the way the fans are right on top of you. It’s a football atmosphere.”
“And what better way to be playing the game of football for a championship to go to the Super Bowl at Lambeau Field,” Gronkowski added. “This is going to be a great experience.”
Gronkowski remembers one of his favorite conference championship experiences coming in a cold, hostile road environment. He helped the Patriots prevail over the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime at Arrowhead Stadium for the 2018 AFC Championship.
“That game is very memorable big time,” Gronkowski said.
Gronkowski and the Bucs could line up against the Chiefs again in the Super Bowl depending on the championship weekend results.