Five tight ends were unveiled as part of the NFL 100 All-Time Team in December, and Rob Gronkowski would be one of them.
“Just to be in that category was just tremendous,” Gronkowski said in an interview with Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take. “It was a huge honor.”
But the process of informing the 30-year-old that he’d be wearing a red jacket at Super Bowl LIV took several steps.
“So, I get a phone call from New York and it’s no caller ID,” Gronkowski said. “I’m just sitting there like, ‘Man, I don’t want to answer this phone call. Like, I don’t want to answer it.’ But, you know, I’m bored and sitting there debating and so I don’t answer. Then it calls back again.”
It was that point that the retired New England Patriots tight end elected to up the treble in his voice.
“I’m like, ‘Uh, sure I’ll answer. Whatever. I’m going to mess around. Let me mess around with this phone call, though,’” Gronkowski recalled. “I answer and I’m like, ‘Hello! Hello! Who is this?’”
On the other end of the line was someone claiming to be the NFL commissioner.
“‘Hey, Rob. This is Roger Goodell. This is Roger Goodell. Is this Rob Gronkowski?’” Gronkowski said. “And I was like, ‘Hello! Hello!’ And I’m just thinking, ‘Man, this is why I don’t answer. People pranking me.’”
The reverse was transpiring.
“‘This is Roger Goodell. I’m looking for Rob Gronkowski.’ And I’m like, ‘Hello! Hello!’
“... And then I just hang up like, ‘Yeah, they’re not getting me.’ So then, like two days later there’s a phone call. He comes back again and I’m sitting there like, ‘Yeah, there’s no way. I’m not answering. That’s definitely not him. He would have left me a message.’ Another two phone calls I didn’t answer. Later that day then, he calls again. The number calls again. And this time they leave a voicemail. I was like, ‘OK, finally they leave a voicemail.’ And I listen to the voicemail and it ends up being Roger Goodell again.”
Gronkowski then learned he’d have a place alongside fellow tight ends Mike Ditka, John Mackey, Kellen Winslow Sr. and Tony Gonzalez.
“‘Hey, Rob. It’s Roger Goodell. I’m just looking for you. I’m not sure if this is the right number or not and I just want to congratulate you. You have made the NFL Top 100 players of all time,’” Gronkowski said of the voicemail. “I’m just sitting there like, ‘Man, I’m not sure.’ But when I did hang up the first time, I was thinking it my head it kinda sounded like him. But that was classic.”
The five-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro and three-time Super Bowl champion then called the office back and spoke to Goodell.
“He didn’t bring up anything about that phone call,” Gronkowski said.