Rob Gronkowski Says Eagles Were ‘Like a High School Team’ Last Time He Played Them
Rob Gronkowski knows the Philadelphia Eagles well. The franchise beat him and his New England Patriots in the Super Bowl five years ago, and he played them twice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021. That season, Gronk and the Bucs unceremoniously dumped the Eagles out of the payoffs, 31-15. That 2021 Eagles team did not impress the future Hall of Famer, and Gronkowski told the world about it on the Super Bowl 57 pregame show.
Rob Gronkowski slandered the 2021 Eagles ahead of Super Bowl 57
Rob Gronkowski joined the FOX NFL Sunday pregame show ahead of Super Bowl 57. As soon as he walked on stage, host Curt Menefee asked him how different the 2017 Super Bowl-winning Eagles were from this team.
With only eight players on the roster from the last Super Bowl, Gronk rightly noted this is a very different team. He also pointed out that the team is even a lot different from last year’s Eagles squad. While doing so, Gronkowski couldn’t help but take a shot at the team he and his Buccaneers beat down in the 2021 Wild Card Round.
“We also played them in the playoffs last year, and we did very well versus them,” Gronkowski said. “I felt kind of like they were a high school team at the moment, trying to figure out their system. They squeaked their way into the playoffs.”
As Michael Strahan pulled his co-hosts away from Gronk in fear of reprisal from angry Eagles fans, Gronkowski quickly changed his tune in regard to this year’s team.
“They put it together this year, and they added all the pieces they needed to add,” Gronkowski said. “They upgraded!”
While calling the 2021 Eagles a high school team is a little rough, even die-hard Philly fans will admit that last offseason brought big changes for the birds.
A lot has happened since the 2021 Wild Card Round
Rob Gronkowski does have a point. The 2021 Philadelphia Eagles weren’t a great team. They snuck into the playoffs by winning the lowly NFC East with a 9-8 record, the 12th-ranked scoring offense, and the 18th-ranked scoring defense.
Gronkowski’s Buccaneers stomped those Eagles, going up 31-0 in the first quarter before coasting to a comfortable 31-15 victory.
Then this past offseason, two things happened.
One, the Eagles signed Haason Reddick as a free agent, and the edge-rusher supercharged the Phill pass rush. The Eagles D put up 70 sacks this season (with Reddick leading the way with 16.0) for the third-most in NFL history.
And on the other side of the ball, the second big deal was the leap made by quarterback Jalen Hurts. The young QB upped just about everything in his game this season, improving in accuracy (61.3% to 66.5%), passing yards (3,144 to 3,701), passing touchdowns (16 to 22), and cutting his interceptions (nine to six).
Those two factors led to the Eagles having the No. 2 scoring offense in 2022 and the No. 8 scoring defense. That’s why they are in Super Bowl 57 and no longer a “high school team.”