Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski know a thing or two about winning the Super Bowl. The former teammates-turned-analysts were vital parts of the New England Patriots teams that brought three Lombardi Trophies to Foxboro, while Gronkowski won an additional ring as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Super Bowl is more than just a football game, it’s a two-week long sprint that culminates in the most important sporting event an athlete will ever play in. And ahead of Sunday’s matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, we caught up with Edelman and Gronk via their partnership with Bounty to learn about managing the lead-up to the game and the various pass catchers who will have a chance to make their marks in Las Vegas.
Let’s start with what you have going on with Bounty.
Edelman: Well, you know, Gronk’s been working with Bounty for a few years. And he had to throw me a couple of bones — they wanted to do some kind of wingman segment. He’s like, “Yo, Jules, I need a wingman,” and called me up. I was like, “Alright, Gronk I’m in.” One of the craziest things about Rob is one of the first times I ever met him — this guy is from Buffalo, New York, so he always loved Buffalo wings. And he always loves sloppy, saucy buffalo wings. Once I heard we’re about to do a Bounty thing, it clicked — “Oh, man, we got to do this thing together.” He took a chicken wing off this platter and ate it, and it was so funny. And then now, we’re doing a Bounty wingman thing. So, it’s pretty cool, and you know, you can’t have a football without wings, and you can’t have wings without Bounty.
Gronkowski: Yeah, I’m stoked to team up with Bounty again, especially with my wingman Jules. Even though we’re not teammates anymore — but we kind of are now, partnering with Bounty together, and also partnering on the Fox side as analysts. And he’s always got my back, and I always got his back, just like Bounty does for all our messes that we create.
Obviously, this is all happening around the Super Bowl. Pretty good game coming up in a few weeks, can I get the general thoughts that the two of you have on this game?
Gronkowski: I’m gonna go with the San Francisco 49ers. They haven’t even played a complete football game yet this playoffs and they reached the Super Bowl. That just goes and shows how good of a team that they are. And if they finally click, if they finally play to their potential, I think they will handle this game with no problem.
But that’s only if they can do that — if every one of their stars can come out and put up big numbers, I think they should be able to handle this game fine. They’ve been to the championship game plenty of times over the last few years, but they have yet to get a Super Bowl. I think it’s their time, but the Kansas City Chiefs, they are coming and their defense has been playing lights out. In order for the San Francisco 49ers to win, they’re just going to have to finally play a complete game, which they have not yet in the playoffs.
Edelman: Yeah, I’m just excited. I’m excited to see the storylines coming out. You got great things going for both teams — can San Francisco get their sixth Super Bowl? I grew up a San Francisco 49ers fan, so that’s pretty cool. Will Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs and Travis Kelce, will these guys go and finally get their third and become an official dynasty? With the amount of success that they’ve had in the last five, six years, it has been fun to watch, especially knowing how hard it is with the success that we were able to have in New England, experiencing that.
So, I’m just excited for the game. As the game goes on, I want to see injury reports, I want to see all that stuff, so I’m not going to call a team right now. But I’m excited for it, man. It’s Super Bowl Sunday, man! I don’t know if you can say it, but it’s a holiday.
Yeah, I don’t like that I have to work the following day. I think everyone in America should get the day off after the Super Bowl. But it’s an interesting game, and a good reason to talk to you two is because there are just so many great pass catchers in this game — Travis Kelce, Rashee Rice, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle. Who are the guys, as two guys who know a thing or two about catching footballs, that you like watching the most among the various options in this football game?
Gronkowski: Well, I’m gonna be a little biased, I always love to watch tight ends. I’ve been watching tight ends my whole entire life, especially when I was playing, I love the checkout everyone’s game.
And what I love about George Kittle is that he’s a complete tight end. If you saw him last week, he had two catches for only 27 yards. But you saw the impact that he has in the run game, as well. It’s just incredible what he does, he pancaked Aidan Hutchinson and put him on his back last week. You know how hard of a task that is? Even regular tackles can’t do that! And frickin’ George Kittle did it. That’s what I love about his game.
And then what I love about Travis Kelce’s game is that he’s the most complete guy to ever play the tight end position, and the most complete route runner in the game at the position. The way he gets open, the way he finds the open hole, the way he can get open on man coverage as well, it’s just something special to see. So, I just love those two, they’re transcending the game and making the tight end position popular every single time they hit the field.
Edelman: I’m more of a situational watcher. I like to watch gotta have it plays — which is like a third down, or a third down in the red area, which we used to call four-point plays. Those players that make the big plays — the Christian McCaffreys making a huge third down, Aiyuk with those in cuts and bow routes on third-and-longs that he’s been able to hit. With the Chiefs, it’s been really fun to see how they’ve been able to get the ball into Rashee Rice’s hands, trying to use that youth, that speed with him. Because like Gronk, said, Travis Kelce, he’s pretty impressive just to watch how he finds a way to get open every time, and when it’s a gotta have it situation with them, it seems like it’s always getting into his hands, even when everyone knows it’s going to his hands. So, I like to watch those kinds of things in the games.
My last question, it’s about actually playing in the Super Bowl — you guys obviously know what that’s like as well as anyone. Chiefs were here last year, Niners it’s been a few years. How big of an edge is having that experience of actually playing in the Super Bowl and knowing the stakes, two weeks of media, this ultra long halftime, just all the stuff that makes this game so unique?
Edelman: They both had experience within the last five, six years of being there. There’s probably a lot of guys on the San Francisco 49ers, veteran guys that can bring along the guys who have never experienced the media days, the two weeks up to it, the preparation process. Kansas City, definitely, they know this, they’ve been here a bunch. And it is an advantage because, I remember whenever we used to prepare in New England, we went to the Super Bowl in 2011 and we lost. And I remember Bill Belichick saying something like, “You know, you don’t come all this way, and you do all this stuff for your family, get all these tickets, you set up all these dinners — [it isn’t like] no one really cares if you lose the game.”
So it’s honestly about who can keep the preparation process as close to what it was throughout the whole year, which is what got you to where you’re at right now. And both these teams seem to have a great nucleus of guys that will be able to do that. So it’s gonna be a fun game to watch.
Gronkowski: I would say experience helps with the preparation going into the game, understanding what’s going to go on off the field, all the distractions that can lead you away from what actually matters, and that’s the game on that Sunday. And then I would say experience doesn’t matter once the game starts. It’s all about who shows up to play that Sunday, who shows up at kickoff, ready to go to make plays and not make any mistakes. So, experience helps with preparation. Whoever shows up to play at that moment is going to win the game.
Edelman: There’s gonna be someone we’ve never heard of make a big play.
There’s no way of knowing who that guy is going to be, it just happens and next thing you know, everyone remembers them forever. Guys, thank you for the time, I appreciate it, have a great rest of your days.
Edelman: Play for the money in the regular season, you play for your name in the postseason, boys.
Gronkowski: Yes! That’s the truth.