There’s no question Patriots fans have adopted the Buccaneers this postseason with the Patriots not making the playoffs.
But along those same lines, these same people seem to be for Tom Brady, but not Rob Gronkowski (just look at replies to this tweet).
Many believe Gronkowski did not do the Patriots any favors by waiting until after free agency had already begun in 2019 to announce his retirement. The then Patriots tight end announced he was stepping away from the game on March 24, the night before the NFL owners’ meetings, via Instagram. This was more than a week after free agency began and Patriots did not sign any tight ends.
New England knew Gronkowski’s contract was expiring and for years it had tried (and failed) to find someone to team up with him. The tight end was approaching 30 years of age and even if he didn’t retire, another player at the position was needed. The idea of Gronkowski waiting until late March to announce his retirement “screwed” the Patriots is an excuse for the failure to address the position not only in the 2019 offseason, but the few offseasons prior.
And by the way, why should Gronkowski be expected to play nice with the Patriots? People forget, New England tried to trade him to the Lions in the 2018 offseason. That doesn’t seem to come up as much as it should.
Then some didn’t like how he came out of retirement to join Brady in Tampa Bay because he liked the laid-back environment he would get. Part of the reason why Gronkowski retired from the Patriots a year earlier was because he didn’t like the demanding culture in New England.
Brady had the same gripes about the culture. He certainly could have remained in New England, but he made it clear he wanted out — putting his house on the market, saying goodbye to Best Buddies, being the most miserable 8-0 quarterback in NFL history, etc.
Of course, Brady could have been paid more by the Patriots, but so could have Gronkowski. The tight end always believed he was underpaid and deserved more, much like Brady the last few years.
Lastly, there was some griping with Gronkowski’s cryptic social media posts over the course of his time in New England, particularly towards the end. But, wasn’t Brady the same way last year around this time? There was the hinting at a return with a post days after the season ended, the Super Bowl commercial tease where many debated if he was walking into Gillette Stadium or out, and a few more.
Because of all that, how is Gronkowski all that different from Brady?
Both players gave everything they had to the franchise and were part of some great teams and multiple Super Bowls. Of course, Brady is on another level because of 20 years compared to nine for Gronkowski, but both players now have new attitudes in Tampa Bay.
Gronkowski told NFL Network this weekend he feels he can be himself more with the Bucs, while Brady clearly was more invested this year than any of his ending years in New England. Just look at all the work he put in during the offseason calling impromptu workouts with teammates during a pandemic when he skipped OTAs his last few seasons with the Patriots.
The situations aren’t apples-to-apples, but are pretty close to the same.
So, why is Gronkowski viewed differently then Brady in these parts?
It’s even more baffling when if there’s one thing certain about Gronkowski it’s how genuine he is. The same cannot be said about Brady.
While Patriots fans rooting for the Buccaneers is not surprising at all, it is surprising these same people seem to be pulling for Brady, but not Gronkowski.