The NFL season returns Thursday night with the New England Patriots—who, when we last checked in, had just completed the greatest comeback victory in Super Bowl history and later slogged through a depressing jaunt at the White House—hosting the Kansas City Chiefs. For fans it will be a welcome reunion with the league’s biggest stars. It feels like one in particular, however, tight end Rob Gronkowski, never really went away. The famously party-minded behemoth has been as ubiquitous as ever in the offseason, from starring in commercials, to popping up in the press briefing room with Sean Spicer, to delivering a surprisingly decent statement on the state of racial tension in the country. His latest venture is a series of commercials for Tide Sport PODS, which remind you he still plays football with the tagline, “Spike the stink!”
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I asked the Patriots star about doing laundry and working with Tom Brady’s questionable trainer-guru, which he was more than happy to talk about, and how he feels about the president’s association with the team, which he was less interested in addressing.
Luke O’Neil: Do you actually do your own laundry?
Rob Gronkowski: Actually, yeah, I do my own laundry. I mean, as a kid my mom did my laundry, but I do my own definitely.
Do you let it build up or stay on top of it?
Oh, I let it build up. I wear all my clothes, underwear, socks, and then when I’m on my last shoe I gotta figure out a way to hurry up, organize my laundry, and get it going. And sometimes I overdo it, and I’m rushing around to find an extra pair of socks or underwear, but I definitely build it up.
Who came up with “spike the stink?” Were you involved with that, or the marketing team?
You gotta spike the stink! We kind of came up with it together. Always Gronk spiking, so you want to take those Tide pods, and you want to spike those right into your laundry, man, make everything smell good.
I know you’re a guy that appreciates a good double entendre. That term has kind of a double meaning, doesn’t it?
Yes it does. It sure does. You gotta spike that stink as soon as possible, man. You got double spikes. You got one in the end zone, you get off the field, you start spiking that stink with the pods.
You do a lot of endorsements. Is any of that related to your injury history—trying to set yourself up in case something bad happens?
No, not at all. I don’t think that has a connection at all. I just love business. I love doing business-type stuff. My family has big business background, and I like to stay busy too. In the off season, you work out for two hours a day and then you got all this other time off. I like doing other stuff. Football obviously isn’t going to last a lifetime either, so it’s always cool to get in front of a camera, do commercials, and do endorsements for products that you love.
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Do you guys talk about the toll the game takes on your body, and how some players seem to be retiring earlier?
Oh yeah. I’m pretty sure it’s something every athlete thinks about, especially in the game of football for sure. All the hitting and grinding every single day definitely take a toll. It’s a full-time job, especially when you’re not in your young 20s anymore. You gotta take care of you body, get the right treatment, eat right so you’re ready to go the next day.
You’ve started working with Brady’s guy, Alex Guerrero. How did that come about?
Just seeing Tom, where he’s at. He’s 40 years old—to see the way he operates, the way he moves, the shape he’s in, how he’s playing. Obviously he’s dong something right. You look up to guys who have been through the whole process, that have seen everything and are still going strong. You want to see what they did, and take some of his game, some of his work ethic, some of his workouts and eating programs, you want to establish it with yours. Definitely doing his type of exercises and treatments have helped out big time.