New England Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski is the latest athlete to star in ESPN’s iconic “This is SportsCenter” franchise. In “Ring,” a smitten Gronkowski shows off his new Super Bowl XLIX bling to envious colleagues, anchors Neil Everett, Stan Verrett and Kenny Mayne.
Filmed in ESPN’s Los Angeles, Calif., headquarters in April 2015, the spot also discreetly introduces another familiar face: Rob’s father, Gordon Gronkowski, who sits quietly at a cubicle closest to Verrett. Gronk the Elder, seated in the background in a sport coat and tie, plays his role with aplomb, never breaking character.
“It was great working with Gronk,” Verrett said. “Perhaps the best part was getting to meet his dad, who of course, goes by the name, ‘Papa Gronk’.”
Added colleague Mayne, with the utmost of reverence: “Gronk was an even bigger idiot than I expected and I love him. He is a large block of a man.”
The most famous father-son combo to appear in a “TISC” since the Mannings, the Gronks were a huge hit.
“We were thrilled when we found out that both Rob and his dad Gordon were onboard for this spot,” said Welles Wiley, associate marketing manager at ESPN. “While Rob is the main focus of the commercial, it’s awesome that true Gronk fans noticed Gordon’s subtle cameo in the background.”
Front Row spoke with Papa Gronk about shooting alongside his son and being a part of the iconic franchise.
How does it feel to join your son in one of the “This is SportsCenter” spots?
It was an awesome feeling to share that experience with my son. I wonder how he felt about it! It was also great to meet the cast from SportsCenter. I had a great time.
Whose idea was for you to be in the background?
ESPN reached out and asked if I wanted to be in it.
How different was this experience compared to your cameo on “Family Feud?”
It was very stressful. I had to sit there and stare at the computer screen. [Laughs]
Any future plans to co-star along your son again?
Not at the moment but I’m sure there will be more opportunities down the road in which I would be more than happy to participate in.
Wieden + Kennedy New York is the creative agency for the “This is SportsCenter” franchise, which gives fans an inside peek at the Bristol campus with a humorous spin on day-to-day life at ESPN.
Dan Quinn and Chantre Camack contributed to this post