Rob Gronkowski normally finishes plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he started one this time around.
The Bucs star tight end suggested a Morgan Freeman narration for the Tom Brady-Drew Brees History Channel meme that went viral on Twitter this week in response to Olympian Danny Valencia’s comment about Brady’s age. Valencia quipped that the Bucs should play on the History Channel because of Brady being 43. Brady took it further with a History Channel meme featuring him and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, which the Bucs face in the Divisional Round on Sunday.
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) January 13, 2021
While the acclaimed actor didn’t respond per ESPN’s Jenna Laine, comedian Frank Caliendo did with a Freeman-impersonated narration for the meme.
— Frank Caliendo (@FrankCaliendo) January 13, 2021
Gronkowski’s humor wouldn’t surprise anyone in the Bucs locker room as the team quickly grew accustomed to it.
Brady and Brees going head-to-head for the first time ever in the playoffs will make history. It marks the oldest quarterback matchup ever, and both Brady and Brees have history on the line.
Brady hasn’t ever lost to the same team three times in a season as The Athletic’s Greg Auman noted. The Saints swept the regular season series with Tampa.
Tom Brady has never lost to an opponent three times in one season. Only twice has he faced a division rival in the playoffs, both times after splitting regular-season series with the Jets. Patriots won in 2006 playoffs, lost in 2010. https://t.co/X4UQUWojpC
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) January 11, 2021
For Brees, a loss may end his storied career as retirement seems likely per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Whatever it Takes
Gronkowski gave Washington star defensive end Chase Young little reason to laugh in the Wild Card Round, helping hold the rookie sackless in a 31-23 Bucs victory. Gronkowski blocking instead of catching passes made a major difference at Washington, Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud noted.
If you want to know why the Bucs are only 60 minutes from the NFC Championship Game, look no further than the selflessness demonstrated by tight end Rob Gronkowski.https://t.co/0asNf707fy
— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) January 13, 2021
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians simply said that’s what a football player does.
“He’s not a wide receiver,” Arians said according to Stroud. “He does have a lot of stats, but he doesn’t go into a game looking for stats. He’s looking for wins.”
Gronkowski’s play earned praise from former New England Patriots teammate Dont’a Hightower per NESN’s Zack Cox. Gronkowski won three Super Bowls in New England with Brady before joining him in Tampa.
Getting past the Saints, which beat the Bucs twice, will likely require another big game from Gronkowski — whether blocking or catching.
He also has a record to notch with Brady — the most touchdowns by a quarterback-receiver combo. That record belongs to San Francisco 49ers Hall-of-Famers Joe Montana and Jerry Rice with 12. Gronkowski and Brady have 11.
They played nine seasons together in New England before playing together in Tampa.
“I know exactly what he’s thinking (and) how he looks,” Brady said in Thursday’s press conference.
Gronkowski’s pass-catching picked up going into the postseason, too, in his first season back in the NFL since his 2019 retirement.
He caught three touchdowns and averaged 14.75 yards per catch in his final four regular season games. His seven touchdowns for the season marked his highest total since 2017. He caught four of those touchdowns in the second half of the season.
“He’s exceeded my expectations, to tell you the truth,” Arians said earlier this season according to Sports Illustrated’s All Bucs. “I think he’s gotten better and better.”