The Tampa Bay Buccaneers athletes and their teammates secured their spot in the NFL Championship on Sunday, January 24, after defeating the Green Bay Packers. Tampa Bay has only been to the Super Bowl one other time — in 2003 — but neither Brady, 43, nor Gronkowski, 31, are strangers to the big game.
Super Bowl LV will be the former New England Patriots’ quarterback’s 10th Super Bowl appearance. His team won six of those nine appearances. As for the New York native, he’s played in four Super Bowl games and won three. Each of his past Super Bowls was played with Brady.
Brady shocked New England sports fans by announcing that he was leaving the team for Florida in March 2020. He released a statement saying he would be “FOREVER A PATRIOT,” in a nod to his two-decade run with the team.
“To all my teammates, coaches, executives and staff, Coach [Bill] Belichick, [owner Robert Kraft] and the Kraft family and the entire organization, I want to say thank you for the past twenty years of my life and the daily commitment to winning and creating a winning culture built on great values,” he began.
In September 2020, he appeared on an episode of Dax Shepard‘s “Armchair Expert” podcast, where he revealed that it wasn’t easy to walk away from the team. “It’s a lot of emotions, a lot of memories,” he said.
Gronkowski was retired at the time. He announced his departure from the league in March 2019. “It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today,” he shared via Instagram.
Brady, for his part, reacted to the news with a message of support. He commented on the Instagram post, “Love you man!! The [greatest of all time]!! Couldn’t be a better person or teammate!!!!”
The Entourage guest star and University of Michigan alum aren’t just teammates, however. They have a special friendship that started in Massachusetts. They played together on the Patriots for eight years before being traded to the Buccaneers in 2020 — a move tight end told WEEI-FM wasn’t planned.
“As a player, you always want to see what it is like somewhere else. [I] thought of that before, definitely after playing nine years in the NFL and I also thought about it when I came out of retirement,” she said in April 2020, adding, “But no, we never really talked about that before. It kind of just happened. With my retirement and him hitting free agency, it just kind of lined up like that.”
Fans love their dynamic on and off the field, no matter what team they play for. “Best friend vibes like Gronk & Brady >>,” one person tweeted of the relationship. Another football fan wrote, “I’m an embittered Texans fan, but I have to admit, I still find the Brady-Gronk BFF thing kinda charming.”
Scroll through for a look at Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski’s bromance through the years.