He can name the three Kardashian sisters, and he’s got the most talked about body part at the Super Bowl. There’s a billboard in the Boston area touting his “party” line and a “Party Gronk” song enjoying a run on the Internet.
Even his New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick can’t stop Rob Gronkowski from having fun — and he surely was having a lot of it this week. When a television personality told him she agreed to wear a Giants bikini on air if the New Yorkers won the Super Bowl, the Patriots tight end had a ready comeback: “At least there’s a positive if we lose.”
At least he didn’t try to answer in the elementary Spanish he picked up at the University of Arizona, though he surely had to be tempted. His “Yo soy fiesta” line — translated literally into “I am the party” became an instant smash when he said it following the Patriots win over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC title game.
Then again, “Yo soy dia y dia” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
That was Gronkowski’s answer to a serious question about how he is healing from the high ankle sprain he suffered against the Ravens. The fact he considers himself day by day had people listening closely, because a lot of pundits believe the big guy with the uncanny knack for catching touchdown passes could be a difference-maker against the Giants.
Channeling his inner Belichick, who is renowned for not revealing much, Gronkowski put off all other queries about his health until after the game.
“I could be 100 percent by then,” Gronkowski said. “I could be 2 percent by then.”
That’s a big range, though the guess is that Gronkowski will be healed enough to line up on offense on Sunday at Lucas Oil Field. His own father said as much last week when he told a radio station in Gronkowski’s hometown of Buffalo that his son was a fast healer and would be ready for the game.
“I’m young. I’m healthy. I hope I’m a quick healer,” the son said. “I’m anxious to be out there.”
The Patriots are just as anxious to have Gronkowski out there, following a breakout second NFL season where he always seemed open any time quarterback Tom Brady looked his way. At 6-foot-6 (1.98 meters), he was as effective blocking for Brady as he was catching his passes, setting an NFL record for tight ends with 17 touchdown catches and finishing fifth in the league with 90 receptions.
Gronkowski’s emergence as a big bruising tight end has been a bonus for the Patriots offense this year.
Gronkowski — whose brother, Chris, is a fullback for the hometown Indianapolis Colts — talks with the confidence of a player far more experienced. He’s got a swagger that makes teammates forget he was still a university student and watching the Super Bowl with his father from the upper deck of University of Phoenix Stadium when the Giants and Patriots met four years ago.
Fast forward to now, and he’s the player everyone scrutinized on arrival to see if he was still wearing his walking boot. (He was.)
“I told him with all the attention he should write ‘Mom, I love you’ on his sock,” Brady said.
Attention is one thing Gronkowski doesn’t mind. He patiently sat at a podium on the field at media day answering every question tossed his way, acing the exam when a tabloid TV show reporter asked him to name the three Kardashian sisters.
He’s eager to play the starring role if it means bringing the Patriots another Super Bowl trophy.
“All I want to do is be out there with the team,” he said. “Who wouldn’t want to be there? It’s the Super Bowl.”
Gronkowski has been practicing his Spanish, and may be ready to break out a new line if the Patriots win.
“Yo quiero Super Bowl ring?” someone suggested.
He liked that.
“Yeah, I want a Super Bowl ring.”