Rob Gronkowski sent shockwaves through the NFL and sports landscapes this afternoon when he emerged from retirement in a trade from New England to Tampa Bay to join Tom Brady with the Buccaneers.
The 30-year-old tight end won three Super Bowls with the Patriots as Brady’s main receiving target, but retired after the 2018 championship run due to wear and tear that destroyed his body for nine seasons. Far from one to shy away from the spotlight, Gronk agreed to do some broadcast work for the NFL on Fox. And he’s good at it. Like really good.
Gronkowski made his broadcasting debut on October 20 last season, exactly six months ago, as a special guest on the “Fox NFL Kickoff.” He had a unique and passionate insight into why the “Patriot Way” still works in the modern era, even as New England’s stunning first round defeat to Tennessee in the January playoffs avoided contention.
What makes Fox the best show in the NFL pregame year in and year out is the network’s ability to find and develop talent that hits the right balance between x and o evaluation, though not too much, and a lightweight nature. which keeps the fans engaged and entertained. I see the first hand set on the Fox show on Thursday night’s pregame show in New York at the end of its season. While Gronk was absent that night, everyone from Michael Strahan to Tony Gonzalez could say he was capable of being a studio analyst if he wanted to.
And while he was a star attraction in Miami for Super Bowl 54 for his difficult field trip, Gronkowski has what every covets on the network: Name recognition from every American football fan and respect from current players who either grew up watching him or playing against him himself. The Super Bowl Sunday was featured this season with Gonzalez and tight ends Travis Kelce of Kansas City and George Kittle of San Francisco.
Now Gronkowski will return to the trenches, New England’s deal with the 7th-round pick at Tampa Bay for a 4th round pick. He will honor one year and $ 10 million left on his contract and take it from there.
“Fox Sports wants Rob Gronkowski the best as he returns to play in the NFL,” Fox Sports said in an email statement. “Even if we can’t miss having our teammates, we can’t wait to see what he does on the field with Tom and the rest of the Bucs this season. Gronk will always have a place in our NFL on the FOX team. ”
Gronkowski is in the comforting position of having the rest of his adult life set up for him if he wants it. Fox is clearly happy to bring him back and possibly have him as a fixture in NFL programming for decades. After a successful WrestleMania hosting for the WWE a few weeks ago, an event ironically supposed to take place in Tampa, Gronkowski could have a long and successful career as a wrestling host, personality or actual or superstar. Hell, as long as SmackDown is on Fox, they can use him for both the NFL and WWE.
Whether dancing as a Laker Girl with James Corden or hamming it up in “The Masked Singer,” Gronkowski has this factor that makes her TV gold, Jerry.
And that’s why giving football one last go makes sense for Gronk. With his future seemingly safe, why not give it a final run with Brady, away from Bill Belichick’s uber-structured environment and his predominantly Florida natural habitat. He finished his entire future planned ahead of him. And if it was as an NFL analyst, his first few months in that role would have been just as impressive as his Hall Of Fame exploits on the field.