Using the term “larger than life” to describe a 6’6″ tight end who tipped the scales at 265 during his time in the NFL might be a bit on the nose, but it’s hard to think of a better way to sum up the essence of Rob Gronkowski.
The man most people simply refer to as “Gronk” cemented himself as one of the most entertaining football players on the planet during an 11-year career with the Patriots and Buccaneers where he racked up four Super Bowl rings, was selected to the Pro Bowl on five separate occasions, and celebrated the bulk of the 107 touchdowns he snagged between the regular season and playoffs with his signature “Gronk Spike.”
Of course, you can’t talk about the guy who once proclaimed “Yo Soy Fiesta” without discussing the many off-the-field antics (and perfectly juvenile sense of humor) that define his exuberantly joyful personality, including his foray into professional wrestling, a brief stint as an NBA cheerleader, and the time he put a dent in a Lombardi Trophy by using it as a baseball bat.
Gronk hasn’t had much trouble staying occupied since announcing his decision to hang up his cleats last summer thanks to the lengthy list of endorsement deals he’s racked up since retiring, and I was thrilled to get the chance to chat with him after he added Bounty into the fold ahead of Super Bowl LVII.
Football + Wings + Bounty = Gronk Spike🔥⬇️🤑#BountyPartner #BountyIsYourWingman
During the conversation, the future Hall of Famer chatted about how he’s spending his retirement, revealed the one person he has trouble hanging with while partying, and shed some light on the story behind the somewhat infamous picture that was taken when he attended a football game at Ohio State during a high school visit.
Without further ado…
Our interview with Rob Gronkowski
BroBible: Gronk, thanks for taking the time to talk with me today. To kick things off, can you give me the lowdown on what you’re doing with Bounty?
Well, being from Buffalo, I know a few things about game day—especially growing up as a big Bills fan.
There are three things you must have on game day. The first is obviously football. Then, there’s wings. Finally, Bounty. You can’t have one without the other. I even have a saying, “You can’t have football without wings and you can’t have wings without Bounty, my man.”
Wise words. How’s retirement treating you so far?
It’s going really good. I’m staying busy.
I was going to say I feel like I see your face everywhere.
People think I’m actually way busier than I am, but I’ve figured out the scheduling for the shoots and mostly have how it works down.
Usually, all these commercials see I knock out in like five days in a row. When I go out to Los Angeles, I’ll do 12-hour workdays, and then I have two weeks off. It’s a great schedule. I can’t complain, man. I gotta be thankful for it.
Retirement is going well. I’m keeping my brain active, which is great. You gotta stay busy. You’ve gotta keep the brain cells functioning in order to function, and in order to fire them up, you gotta be using them.
It’s great to do a bunch of different things. I’ve got the Fox analyst stuff going on. I’m kicking a field goal live during the Super Bowl. I got the Gronk Beach Party Saturday before the game; 21 Savage is the headliner.
You actually beat me to the punch while talking about your connection to Buffalo. Do you consider yourself a member of Bills Mafia now that you’re not causing them problems in the AFC East?
Yes. I was a Bills Mafia member growing up. I was definitely a big Bills fan. Eric Moulds was my favorite receiver and Takeo Spikes was my favorite linebacker. I loved him so much. I just loved the name as well.
Then I got drafted by the Patriots. The Bills passed on me twice. I didn’t want anything to do with the Bills. [laughs] I was not Bills Mafia anymore. But now that I’m retired, I’m going back to my hometown roots. It’s been nice to see them turn things around.
Do you have a go-to wing joint?
Everyone loves the tourist spots when going to Buffalo. You’ve got Anchor Bar and you’ve got Duff’s, which are great, wonderful wings, but let me tell you, you can go to any local shop as well.
The Amherst Ale House—which is right down the street from me—they have wonderful wings, but I’ve never had a problem getting good wings in Buffalo.
Do you know what makes Buffalo’s the best? They have the best wings for sure, but it’s the blue cheese.
Everyone has great blue cheese in Buffalo. Outside of Buffalo, blue cheese is awful. You can’t find good blue cheese. But in Buffalo, let me tell you, the blue cheese is fantastic, and that’s really what makes the wings.
I have to ask: how you do feel about ranch?
Ranch is not blue cheese. Ranch is fine as a replacement when you find wings outside of Buffalo, but if you’re in Buffalo, you’re doing blue cheese.
You mentioned you have the Super Bowl bash coming up. Buffalo also has a pretty legendary tailgating scene, and based on what I’ve seen over the course of your career, you’ve sort of mastered the art of partying. Is there anyone you’ve had trouble keeping up with?
Well, I can’t really keep up anymore. I don’t want to try to keep up either, because I can’t move the whole next day.
I like to have a glass of wine or a glass of whiskey or whatever, get a little buzz, and just feel good throughout the night. If I partied now like I did back in the day, I wouldn’t be able to be here right now and be talking. It takes a couple of days to recover.
But there’s one person who I can’t keep up with who’s still the master. He’s the number one partier hands down: my oldest brother, Gordie.
The guy has it down to a science. He knows how to party and be ready to go for work the next day. It’s pretty inspiring, to tell you the truth. I can’t keep up with him, though. He’s a maniac.
Speaking of partying, I totally understand if you want to plead the Fifth on this, but I have to ask you about a picture that was taken when you attended an Ohio State game in 2006. A lot of people have speculated you may have had an, um, long night. Is there a backstory there?
Oh yeah. My best friend from growing up in Buffalo went to Ohio State and he still talks about that picture to this day.
We were out till about 3:00 AM the night before. I probably got about four hours of sleep. I was in high school, so I didn’t drink that night. I’m not gonna lie. I didn’t have any drinks. It was just one of those nights.
I was up all night just checking out the campus, man, and I was not feeling so right the next day at the game. So, the picture speaks for itself.
You left most of your NFL salary untouched—I know you did buy some jewelry—and lived off of endorsement money when you were playing. Did you make any celebratory purchases when you retired or are you still saving it for a rainy day?
I actually did just buy a necklace, so now I’ve got two diamond chains. I should’ve worn them today.
I mostly just wear them on special occasions. I’m not really a jewelry guy or anything. I really just want to live a nice lifestyle, man. Just live comfortably. I have really made any big purchases aside from that.
I take care of the people close to me; my family and my parents for sure. But no, nothing out of the ordinary.
I know you’ve probably lost track of the number of people who’ve asked if you have any plans to come out of retirement or what Tom Brady is planning to do next [note: this interview was conducted before the QB announced he was retiring].
Are there any questions you haven’t been asked that you’d like to answer?
Oh man, I’ve been asked a lot of things.
I know I’m putting you on the spot a bit.
No one really asks me what I do in my free time. I actually love to get massages.
I just love to lay on the table three or four times a week and get a deep tissue massage; just relax and let all the stress go and let all the tension in your body just go. I love that. I love the pain.
It just makes you feel like a new man when you get up and just keeps you stress-free.
Thanks again for chatting with me. I really appreciate it.
Portions of this interview were edited for clarity.