Patriots

Strange but true Gronk encounter on a rainy Sunday in Southie

Strange but true Gronk encounter on a rainy Sunday in Southie

BOSTON – Once, as I sat at my desk making phone calls, a valued boss said to me, “Why don’t you get out of the office and go see these people? Nobody ever learns anything sitting in an office park.”

Since it was a telemarketing job, the advice made little sense at that particular moment. However, the overall point is a good one.You gotta get out, be among the people. You never know when you might blunder into something. 

I was reminded of that Sunday afternoon when, at an event in South Boston to help raise money for Horizons For Homeless Children, a co-worker announced, “Gronk’s outside on the sidewalk with another big dude.”

Now, this event was a Celebrity Circuit Challenge at a great gym called Everybody Fights run by George Foreman III. I encourage you to check it out and ask you to consider donating volunteer time to Horizons.

But — unlike Troy Brown, Jermaine Wiggins, Aron Baynes, Robert Williams, Morgan Tuck (Connecticut Sun), Charlie Davies, James Fahey (Cannons) and Scott Caldwell (Revs) — Gronk was not one of the participating celebs.

I went outside to confirm. Confirmed. There was Gronk with another big dude. They were both talking to somebody inside through an open window. It was raining and Gronk, wearing shorts and a black windbreaker, had the hood up and the strings tied so that just the middle of his face was visible.

“Gronk!”

He pointed in the window and began explaining why the greatest tight end of all-time was — one week into his retirement at the age of 29 — standing on the sidewalk in the rain his head poked into a window.

“That’s my friend, Jim,” he said, pointing at a guy inside doing sit-ups. “We just came to check on his workout.”

The guy inside nodded his confirmation that he was indeed Jim. He didn’t stop doing his sit-ups.

This was not a media access period and, in my experience, the best way to scare a 6-6, 265-pound tight end away is to start peppering him with questions, so I congratulated him on his decision instead.

Then I added, “I thought you were gonna tell me before you announced!”

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He actually had. In December, I mentioned that things move fast in the offseason and that I didn’t want to be misinformed so could he keep me in the loop?

“I got you,” he said at the time.

He didn’t have me.

“I didn’t tell ANYBODY!” he replied, clapping his hands, proud as he could possibly be that nobody really knew his plans until he announced them on Instagram.

“Lemme ask just one question,” I implored. “Do you think there’s any chance that, around Thanksgiving, you might be back playing?”

His eyebrows went up. His eyes widened. His mouth made a little O. He shook his head.

“I’m into new opportunities,” he said, pointing at Jim. “I was at CVS today with Jim. Bagged all his stuff. I might do that, be a bagger. I might open a dog-walking business, be a dog-walker, I don’t know.”

He kept rocking from one foot to another as he spoke, hands coming together then separating, fingers splayed wide. He’d sometimes punctuate a sentence by reaching out to rap the other big dude, knuckles slapping the front of the other big dude’s shoulder.

I told Gronk a friend of mine just opened a dog-walking business. He could contract out as a pooper scooper.

“No doubt! Get a long stick with a scooper on the end and a handle,” Gronk said, acting out the whole scene. “I just hit the trigger and it scoops it up. Then I reach back and drop it in a big bag on my back. Put all the poop in there and empty it every once in a while! So many ideas!”

I told him I liked it. I told him I was happy for him and congratulated him again. I asked him if he wanted to co-host Quick Slants with me since Jerod Mayo was fleeing the program.

“Nahhh, I don’t think I’ll be able to do that,” he said, letting me down easy.

I told him I appreciated it anyway.

I went back inside, leaving him and the other big dude to resume heckling Jim through the window while standing in the rain on a Sunday afternoon, the last day of March, one week into his retirement.

About 10 minutes later, I was back inside and the event was about to begin when another co-worker approached.

“Gronk’s outside,” she told me.

“I know,” I said. “I already talked to him.”

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Rob Gronkowski set to compete in virtual beer pong tournament

Rob Gronkowski set to compete in virtual beer pong tournament

Who knew virtual beer pong was a thing? 

Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski apparently is set to compete in a virtual beer pong tournament hosted by Post Malone to raise money for coronavirus relief efforts, according to TMZ Sports. The tournament will be live-streamed on the @ballinacup Instagram over eight days and the winners will receive a trophy and wrestling belts. 

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Gronkowski will be partnered with his girlfriend Camille Kostek, and they aren't the only familiar faces in the tournament. Former Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola and former Boston Bruins forward Tyler Seguin also will compete in the competition. 

The first round kicks off on Friday with Gronkowski and Kostek taking on Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and USWNT star Mallory Pugh. Amendola will take on Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce on Saturday and Seguin will take on New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman on Monday, April 6. 

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It's no surprise Gronkowski signed up to compete in this tournament -- he loves to party, after all. 

This definitely is something out of the ordinary, but it should be pretty comical to watch Gronkowski, Amendola and Seguin compete to see who the king of beer pong is. 

Patriots have dominated this category since turn of the century

Patriots have dominated this category since turn of the century

The New England Patriots have been an unstoppable force over the course of the past two decades. The team has won six Super Bowls, 17 division titles, and hasn't logged a losing season this century.

One of the reasons for their success? They have been insanely good in one-possession games.

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According to Boston Sports Info (@BostonSportsInf), the Patriots have the best winning percentage in one-score games since the turn of the century. They are one of just two teams that have won greater than 60 percent of those contests. Here's a look at the numbers:

While several teams have more wins than the Patriots in these contests, it's still remarkable that the team has won two-thirds of their one-score games in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. It takes great decision-making on the parts of players and coaches to maintain such a strong record.

With Brady no longer on the Patriots, It looks like we're going to figure out just how much he has mattered to the Patriots' ability to win close games. Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer are the two quarterback options on the roster after Cody Kessler was released on Thursday, so Belichick will have his work cut out for him with either option.

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Meanwhile, Brady's impact on the Buccaneers may be notable depending on how much they improve in this area. The Bucs have the third-worst winning percentage of the century in one-possession games, coming in at 40.2 percent. They have the second-most losses overall with 98.

Last season, the Bucs were 3-6 in nine one-score games with Jameis Winston at the helm. If Brady can help to improve upon that record by making fewer late-game mistakes than the turnover-prone Winston did, then the Bucs may have a chance to make some noise in the NFC.

Either way, we'll soon see how Brady's presence impacts the Bucs and if the Patriots can continue their winning ways in close contests.