Rob Gronkowski may no longer be in the game of football, but he did make a debut of sorts during Thursday Night Football.Fox Sports announced this week that Gronk would be joining its crew as a football analyst; yet another Patriot alumni to join the ranks of media.
Before his former team defeated the Giants, 35-14, Gronk stepped out onto his new turf. Gronk joined Michael Strahan, Terry Bradshaw and Tony Gonzalez on the pregame and halftime shows, and though it was just his first time in the role, there are already quintessentially Gronk moments from the broadcast.
"I think it’s going to be lit," he said, starting off strong in a prerecorded skit.
In the segment, he was asked whether or not he could be critical of his former quarterback, coach and team. Gronk said it would be "easy cheesy. I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole career."
About Tom Brady? "Sometimes he just throws too perfect of a pass. He’s got to let that receiver look good, you know what I mean .... He’s just too handsome too."
About Coach Bill Belichick? "He ruins hoodies. He’s not even jacked, and he cuts those hoodies off. If he looked like me or something and got jacked, I’d understand. Then he can show his arms off. He doesn’t even work out."
Gronk's effortless charm showed through as he heaped praise on Gonzalez and cracked a joke at Bradshaw's expense.
"He was my biggest hero growing up, my favorite tight end growing up," Gronk said of Gonzalez. "I wish I could have been a teammate with him when I was playing, we were playing, but it’s an honor now to share the stage with him."
When it came to Bradshaw, Gronk said: "And we got the original TB right here. You are a legend to my father."
The highlight of the night might have been when Julian Edelman came up with reporter Erin Andrews. "The Flying Squirrel" got a good old-fashioned hype from his buddy, and everything about it felt straight out of a WWE promo.
"First off, he calls himself ‘The Squirrel.’ You want to know why he calls himself ‘The squirrel’? Because he is a squirrel," he said. "He’s furry. He’s cute. He’s elusive. He’s feisty, and most importantly, whenever he gets a chance he gets that nut, just like he gets the first down, just like he gets a touchdown, just like he’ll get you a catch when you need it."
Though his humor and kid-at-heart personality will make Gronk plenty of fun to watch, he is ultimately a great football mind. During the halftime show, Gronk showed exactly why he was brought onboard when he talked about San Fransisco's tight end George Kittle, who he said reminds him of himself.
"I had a breakout year my second year in the league too. I met him this year, and when I met him, he had that energy," Gronk said. "He brought that energy to the table. You can see he loves lifting weights; he loves being strong. Whenever he gets the ball, he just wants to go all the way to the end zone. That’s what I love about him. He’s a special talent and he’s a big asset for the san Francisco 49ers."
Gronk may be a rookie all over again, but it was a solid start and a great way for Patriots fans to still get their Gronk fill.