Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady knows how much tight end Rob Gronkowski relishes catching the ball in poor weather.
Brady, busting out an impersonation of his longtime teammate, told media during Week 17 about the time Gronkowski called him up to get ready for a GQ photoshoot during the offseason. Gronkowski wanted to workout, catching passes in particular. Gronkowski felt ready after the pass-catching session in the early spring rain according to Brady per Buccaneers.com’s Carmen Vitali on Twitter.
“He was ready for his photoshoot because of one day of the two of us working out together,” Brady said in the Dec. 31 press conference. “It was good execution, but I think for him it was more important that he felt like he was shredded now that he could get ready for his GQ photoshoot. That’s one of the great stories — just him being Rob. That’s why everyone loves him.”
Brady’s impersonation drew plenty of social media attention in the days following. Sporting News’ Billy Heyen wrote that Brady “deserves an award” for the quality of the impression and pondered if he practiced it in advance.
Brady and Gronkowski have both good execution and an award — the Lombardi Trophy –in mind as they embark on their 10th playoff journey in Washington on Saturday. They look to help the Bucs (11-5) win their first playoff game since 2003.
Better than Gold
If Brady and Gronkowski connect for a touchdown at Washington, they will pass the all-time playoff quarterback-receiver combo of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana and receiver Jerry Rice. Montana and Rice posted 12 touchdown connections while Brady and Gronk come into Washington with 11 per CBS Sports.
Besides Brady and Gronkowski giving the Bucs scoring potential anytime in January, they bring the intangibles of playoff experience the Bucs will need. Numerous starters on the roster, particularly career-long Bucs, never played in a playoff game.
“I think that nothing is given — you have to earn everything,” Brady said in Wednesday’s press conference about postseason play. “You get to this point in the year, you have to earn it. To win this game, you’ve got to earn it. You’re playing against teams that have really proven themselves to be the best teams in their divisions all year. We’re going up against a division winner and a team that’s very talented.”
Brady hasn’t impersonated the pre-Brady Bucs in his storied career as illustrated by the The Athletic. He can change the trajectory instead.
Brady, who was born a year after the Bucs came into existence, has 63 more playoff touchdown passes and five more Super Bowl rings than the whole franchise. The Bucs went all-in to bring the former New England Patriots star to Tampa in March of 2020.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said “it’s Super Bowl or Bust” for the team on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football after the team clinched its first playoff trip in 13 years. Arians also recently praised Brady’s leadership and success this season, learning a new system in a shortened time during a pandemic.
Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich noted the Brady’s intensity for preparing is the same as ever — playoffs or regular season — per WFLA’s Gabrielle Shirely.
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