NFL superstar Rob Gronkowski usually celebrates touchdowns by spiking a football into the turf, earning the cheers of thousands of fans. Now, the New England Patriots’ tight end brings that joyous act to a new arena: rock and roll.
EW is exclusively debuting Gronkowski’s music video for Madden NFL 17, the popular football video game franchise which features Gronk on its 2016 cover. The 27-year-old mimicked Jon Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” by parodying the New Jersey rocker’s look and performing a Madden parody, “Catchin’ With Flair.”
“I was just trying to copy Bon Jovi and give it my all,” Gronkowski tells EW. “I watched that video of ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ a few times to try and see what he was doing in it so I could replicate it.”
To nail down Bon Jovi’s look, the all-world player pointed to one attribute. “The hairdo,” he adds. “I couldn’t go with my normal hair, so the hairdo sells it right away.”
Though it was on a set with extras filling the crowd, the actors made Gronk feel like a veritable frontman. “In some moments, it feels like I’m really a rock star singer,” he adds. “Doing the commercial made me feel like I was in the moment of it.”
EW chatted with Gronkowski about shooting the video, his love of Madden, and which teammates he’d love to see follow in his music video footsteps.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When you heard you were on the cover of Madden, how did you react?
ROB GRONKOWSKI: It was shocking, like a dream come true. Growing up as a kid, you always played video games. You always played your favorite teams, your favorite players, and always tried to throw the ball to your favorite player every single time — no matter what the down and distance was. It’s a dream come true. Just to be in the video game the first couple of years was outstanding. I was always proud of it, always loved using myself, throwing the ball to myself — just thought it was super cool. Now being on the cover is just an honor and a dream come true. It’s super special to be on the cover with all the other football players that have done it before.
Did you have intense Madden games with your four brothers?
Oh yeah. Growing up, we had all the matchups verse each other. We tried to find the cheat code way to keep racking up the points verse each other. It always ended up in throwing controllers at each other.
How often do you play Madden nowadays?
Every once in a while. I’m playing the real football right now, but it’s more in the offseason is when I play video games. Every once in a while, my teammates challenge me to a game, I have to take it and step up to the challenge.
How did the music video come together?
Madden just came up with the idea, and we collaborated together, and it just sounded fantastic. It got me to express why people should pick me on their Madden Ultimate Team, why they should select me for Madden Ultimate Team. Not only am I the highest rated tight end in the game, but also I like to rock-star it out, and that’s the way I can express myself rock-starring it out to tell people to pick me on their Madden team.
Are you personally a Bon Jovi fan?
Yes, definitely a Bon Jovi fan. Actually, he’s around practice sometimes — couple games, too, every year. This year, I saw him around training camp and I was excited to tell him about the video — doing my Bon Jovi and along with Madden words. He was super pumped about it, and I was super excited to tell him.
Did you get to contribute to the lyrics?
I had some say in the lyrics. I mean, if I didn’t like them, I wasn’t going to say them. Madden did a great job, and I think we came together, and the lyrics are prefect. If you hear the song, I feel like it goes super well together. It’s not serious; it’s funny and brings out the best in the video.
How would you rate your singing ability?
Oh man, I don’t know. I liked how we get to try for an hour or two, go over a song 50 times in the studio to get it on point. I’d say a little average, just average.
Were you able to snag any souvenirs from the set?
You know, I got to get some pictures of myself in the outfit, but I forgot to grab the whole outfit. I need to get that. I need to ask Madden to ship that to me. I need the guitar, too. I don’t really have any souvenirs, but I just love the commercial, so that’s my souvenir.
If you had to do this again, what song and video would you pick?
If I had to do this again, I’d probably go with Vanilla and his song “Ice Ice Baby” — by Vanilla Ice. I feel like that would correspond with myself, in order to rap and sing Madden words to express why people should pick me on their Madden Ultimate Team. I feel like that would be a really fitting song to do it to.