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FOXBORO (CBS) – When Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski scores a touchdown, he now has a go-to move to celebrate with.
After each score, Gronk had 18 of them in the regular season with three more in the playoffs, the second-year tight end sends the ball to the ground with a booming spike. It seems like with each touchdown in his multi-score games, eight of them this season, each spike gets bigger and more ferocious.
But that wasn’t always the case after Gronkowski scored. The spike is something new he chose as it became apparent he would be crossing the goal line quite a few times in a Patriots uniform.
“Because all the fans liked it, so I just kept with it,” Gronkowski said in the Patriots locker room on Wednesday. “I always wanted to spike and you couldn’t do it in college or high school, so I just started it here and I guess it caught on and everything. I guess it is going pretty good, so it is cool.”
Gronk on Spikes, Nicknames
Fans have taken to the spikes, terming the motion as “Gronking” in light of the recent “Tebowing” fad. 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich will be giving away tickets to the upcoming AFC Championship game between the Patriots and Ravens on Thursday, but with a catch. If any of the three participants get a Patriots trivia question wrong, just one, T&R will be “Gronking” their flat screen TV off the Sports Hub’s roof.
That might be the one time “Gronking” isn’t viewed as a good thing by a Pats fan.
But Gronkowski doesn’t think he should be getting all of the spotlight. Along with Aaron Hernandez, the two have become the best tight end combination in the NFL. Gronkowski had three touchdowns against the Broncos in the Patriots 45-10 AFC Divisional Playoff win last week. Hernandez made an impact in both the passing and running game, hauling in four receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown while leading the team in rushing with 61 yards.
“They have to pick and choose,” receiver Deion Branch said of opposing defense’s dealing with Gronk and Hernandez. “I think with our offense, the things that we do: we do a lot of different things. The defense has to figure out what is their game plan, what are they planning on going in and focusing on.”
“We see them every day in practice and they’re hard to cover out there, believe me,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
Linebacker Jerod Mayo is just one of the players that has to deal with Gronkowski in practice, and he says it is no fun task.
“He can do it all – he can block, he’s a big target, his catch radius is huge so it’s difficult,” Mayo said of covering Gronkowski. “I don’t know how people try to stop him or anything like that but he gives us a good look each and every week.”
But even with the high yardage totals and monster spikes, Gronkowski still says he and Hernandez will not going to be the difference when it comes to Sunday’s game against the Ravens.
“It is definitely not what is going to make the game a win or loss. It is an overall team game and that is all that matters,” said Gronkowski. “We just have to make sure we go out as a team and we all play together as a team. Whoever is making the plays, makes the plays and just basically go out and we have to have a good run game and a good pass game and that is all that matters and the defense plays well and all that matters is about the whole team.”
But even with it being the biggest game of his career, the 22-year-old will still make sure to have some fun out there.
“You have got to get excited; this is a big game. It is the AFC Championship Game. How can you not be excited?” he said. “Going out to practice, that is what is motivating you. You saw the excitement that is going on and everything and it is going to be a lot of fun. I obviously can’t wait for the game, but we have a big practice week right here and I’m excited.”
Tune in to the AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens Sunday, January 22 at 3pm on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV. Pregame coverage begins with Patriots GameDay on WBZ at 11:30am, with Patriots Preview beginning at noon on the Hub!