Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowksi has returned to a place that has appeared almost like clockwork for him in his career – a conference championship game. This will be the sixth time that Gronkowski is playing for the right to be in the Super Bowl, and this one is obviously a new chapter for him as he does it with a new team.
Whether you’re a player like Gronkowski that’s been there on multiple occasions, or like many of his teammates that are reaching the penultimate game of the season for the first time, the feeling of excitement is all the same.
“To be where we are now is unbelievable,” Gronkowski said. “It’s exceptional. It’s just so hard to win games in the NFL. Just week-in and week- out, it’s just hard to win games. The main goal obviously is always to make it to the Super Bowl, but it’s hard.
“I feel like it’s well deserved overall as an organization, everyone’s been working hard, everyone’s been putting their time in, but just overall it’s been a great experience. I’m not surprised that we are this far, but at the same time I know how hard it is to get this far and how much work you need to put in.”
Gronkowski went on to call his Bucs’ teammates one of the most talented groups that he’s been a part of. And for a man that’s won three Super Bowl championships, that’s a ringing endorsement.
What makes this playoff run special outside of the fact that the Bucs haven’t been to the postseason in 13 years is the reality that the Super Bowl is in Tampa Bay. We all know the history that no team has ever hosted the Super Bowl in their own stadium, but as you drive to the practice facility each day and see the signs and banners for Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium, you can’t help but think what it would be like if the Bucs can play in their own backyard. It’s not lost on Gronkowski either.
“It definitely hits you and it hits you in a great way,” Gronkowski said. “It gets your emotions going and its cool to come in and be a small part of it, to do my part and just bring an organization together and on top of it bring the city of Tampa together by just going out there and helping the team win games. It’s just getting super real now with Super Bowl banners going up in the air and everything, it’s a lot on the table and more motivation to keep on working hard when we get in the building.”
And because Gronkowski has enjoyed the journey so much in his return, this isn’t a ride off into the sunset. He confirmed again on Thursday that he plans to play next season with the Bucs.
“Yes, definitely,” Gronkowski said. “I don’t see why not. There’s logistical things, I mean I’m just on a one-year deal, and my main focus obviously is the season, going to Green Bay, but if I had that question now I just don’t see why I wouldn’t be coming back for the 2021 season.”