Editor’s notice: Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL on Sunday. This piece was originally published on Jan. 30, 2018, prior to this New England Patriots playing the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.


The act of forcing a thing (usually a football) to the soil with enormous force as a method of party or since you’re f–ing forged and felt just like doing this anyway.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Gronk Spike surfaced on Sept. 26, 2010. After scoring his next NFL touchdown on a short pass from tombrady , Rob Gronkowski increased his left leg at Juan Marichal-like fashion, reached back with his meaty straight arm, hopped three times on his right foot and fired the ball to the weeds.

The only imperfection was an untied lace on his left shoe, the perfect metaphor for Gronkowski, who has been accused to be tightly wound.

Together with his huge nature and big gift, Gronkowski adopted the end zone spike in his own career and transformed it into a cultural phenomenon. He has executed no under 72 touch down spikes in his career, not adding the can of beer he spiked this past year at the New England Patriots‘ superbowl parade (after chugging the materials ). Or the bridal bouquet he spiked at a wedding reception. Or the puck he spiked in a Boston Bruins game.

“The spike would be your ideal party — it is a classic — and he brought into a brand new point, trademarking it for himself,” team mate Ted Karras said. I believe that’s pretty cool. He also changed the verbiage of the term.”

Rules prohibited Gronkowski from spiking at senior high school or college, so he is making up for lost time. ESPN analyzed 82 of his 87 career touchdowns (five scores out of his rookie season were unavailable on video) and determined he has spiked the ball 88 percent of his own trips into the end zone. Including the postseason.

Emboldened by his historic season in 2011, when he produced 17 touchdown receptions to place the single-season list to get a tight end, Gronkowski’s spike speed has jumped to 93 percent since 2012.

A Couple of trends emerged from our video Break-down (yeah, we did that), some of which may surprise you:

He is a scoreboard-savvy spiker, so he isn’t some of the knuckleheads who sees with an individual achievement when his team is getting his ass kicked. There has been three occasions when he passed up a spike since the Patriots were behind late in the game. The latest example was the 2015 AFC Championship Game, where he performed with 12 minutes left to cut the Denver Broncos‘ result in two things. Instead of succumbing to the adrenaline, Gronkowski simply flipped the ball into a formal.

He favors a solo action. Only once has he engaged a team mate, also that occurred in Week 12 this season against the Miami Dolphins. After having a juggling catch in the end zone, then he also beckoned Danny Amendola, that”cleared” a location for Gronkowski by yanking debris away onto the Gillette Stadium turf. Gronk reacted with one of the most barbarous spikes of this 2017 year old.

He knows his audience. Later in that game, Gronk moved from Buckingham Palace into SoHo (London’s redlight district), holding the ball above his mind and gyrating his hips in a circular manner before delivering a spike. In case Queen Elizabeth had been watching, she may have blushed. This had been the sole spike in Gronkowski’s career that might possibly be termed… well, pg13.

“I used it for conservation”

Jones devised the touch down spike on Oct. 17, 1965, while playing for the nyc Giants. After finishing his first career touchdown, an 89-yard reception from the Philadelphia Eagles, the super fast wide receiver was going to fling the ball in to the Yankee Stadium crowd. Just afterward…

We are going to let him tell this story.

“I said to myself if I scored a touch down, I’d throw the ball at the stands because I had seen [Frank] Gifford throw this at the stands,” Jones said. “But throughout the off season, following the’64 season, [commissioner Pete] Rozelle chose it’d be $500 fine because people from the stands were tussling and getting hurt, fighting for your ball.

“In my mind, I intended to throw this at the stands when I felt, but then I thought about the 500, so I simply drove it into the floor. That’s how a spike started. It had been still conservation. I stored $500.”

Jones said he chased the word”spike,” though it didn’t catch on straight away.

A halfcentury later, Jones, 76, is surprised his funny habit has become such something. In all honesty , he isn’t a fan of the extravagant endzone parties, but he respects Gronkowski (“certainly one of those very best in what he can”) and smiles everytime he sees a Gronk Spike.

“In my mind, I intended to throw this at the stands when I felt, but then I thought about the 500, so I simply drove it into the floor. That’s how a spike started. It had been still conservation. Homer Jones, inventor of this spike

The star tight end said the secret to this great Gronk Spike may be that your clasp. In a November interview with the Boston Globe,” Gronkowski said he ensures to hold the tip of the ball not the belly.

“So when you follow along with you also can hit the belly of this ball directly onto the floor, plus it provides you the maximum ability and the many explosiveness you could purchase and generate,” Gronkowski said.

Whatever he does, it works. Years before, a former MIT graduate student called Dan Thaler ran a”Gronk Spike” study for the Boston Herald and concluded that the chunk leaves Gronkowski’s hand in 60 mph. That’s faster than a pro golfer’s swing, according to Thaler.

“I really don’t believe anyone spikes it as hard as Gronk,” team mate Duron Harmon said. “once you see him spike that ball, and you also see the pictures of the beads developing against the turf due to the force he’s, it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful.”

Here are some interesting facts concerning Gronkowski’s livelihood in spiking:

Instead of celebrating his first NFL touchdown having a spike, the precocious rookie walked over to Brady and handed him . Knowing Gronk, he might have been thinking,”Hey, dude, you may want to stay this. It will be worth a lot more.”

His success rate isn’t completely. That’s correct, the ball slipped from the hand mid-windup.

He minds his manners. Gronkowski has received just three taunting penalties in eight years, in accordance with NFL stats.

Even though he favors the conventional spike, he periodically varies his pre-windup technique. We’ve seen a shoulder shake, and a crow hop and also a back-step (just one time, at a play off game against the Kansas City Chiefs). In 2015, he revealed his true Gronk character by bending both triceps following a touch down in the Buffalo Bills‘ arena, not away from his hometown. Maybe he felt more comfortable before the peeps.

Back in 2011, Gronkowski was faked to a non-spike (not to be mistaken by Dan Marino’s celebrated Fake Spike at 1994). Facing the Indianapolis Colts, Gronkowski felt to a quick pass and walked off with the chunk, thinking that it had been his 14th touchdown reception of this growing season — a record for tight ends. He wanted the chunk as a keepsake. Ironically, but the research revealed it had been a backward pass, so the score went in the books because of rushing touchdown, the sole one of Gronkowski’s career.

This week, Gronk watched the Recordbreaker against the Washington Redskins, but he didn’t realize it before after the spike. So there he was, chasing following having a basketball ball in the endzone in FedExField.

“On a scale of one to 10, I’d give him a 9.7,” team mate David Andrews joked. “There is always room for improvement. He is a dynamic player, also there is [a] large amount of force behind the ball. It’s via top up”

Each spike is actually a dagger into the opponent. Former NFL defensive lineman Mike DeVito was exposed to six Gronk Spikes during his career with the nyc Jets and Chiefs, and now he’s surrounded by Gronk mania because he resides in Maine. He sees pictures of this Gronk Spike all over town, from the food store to his favorite Dunkin’ Donuts.

“For scored on by New England also to watch Gronk spike it does, it adds insult to injury,” DeVito said. “It’s salt in the wound”

And yet…

“As a big guy, I can connect with himpersonally,” DeVito said. “He kind of reminds me about a offensive lineman. He is a lunch-pail guy, and he wants to smash the football. He is old. He does not dance around. He simply wants to drive the ball in to the dirt. There is something to be said for that.”

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