I Got Gronk’d on the Gronk Bus with the Gronkowski Family
Everything is gray on this first day of October, and the blue-gray glass on the Fenway’s ever-proliferating luxury high-rises multiplies the bleakness like the mirror scene in Enter the Dragon. The handful of media assembled in the Tasty Burger parking lot makes small talk, shivering in the crisp autumn air with little in common beyond an occupation and a desire to get Gronk’d™.
The Gronk Bus approaches, piercing the Boylston Street traffic like a valkyrie. Emblazoned across the starboard is Rob Gronkowski, flexing in a tank top. Bewildered passersby snap pictures while kids hang out of the windows of a school bus screaming, Groooonk!
Rob’s brother Dan, a former NFL tight-end of comparable Paul Bunyan stature with slicked-back hair and an upstate New York drawl, welcomes us aboard. The bus is outfitted with custom acrylics and fiber-optics, featuring Rob’s jersey and signature, the final score of Super Bowl XLIX on the back wall, and a family portrait of the five Gronkowksi boys’ jerseys and a No. 69 for Papa Gronk, placed there unbeknownst to him.
“Don’t laugh. You encourage him when you laugh,” say Gordy, patriarch of the House Gronkowski.
An illuminated green football field runs the length of the ceiling, with pigskin on either side. Laser lights dance across the Patriots-themed seats, and a TV in the back plays a fish tank screensaver on loop. There’s a stripper pole, which Gordy says was only added after the media started making stripper pole jokes.
Over burgers and beers and white Zinfandel served in red branded Gronk Bus cups, Dan apologizes for arriving late (the Gronk Bus almost Storrowed) and shares the Gronkowski brothers’ childhood dream of owning a limo bus when they made it big.
“We would always say that for some reason. And Rob’s the one who made it the biggest out of all of us so far. We got a bus for personal use, which became real popular,” he says of the former church bus his family spruced up for road trips. “It was just one that we picked up. Rob wanted something with more room that he could be driven around and be smart with—have a driver and get home safe.”
The Gronkowski boys made headlines when they drove the bus from their native Buffalo across the country to University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, for Super Bowl XLIX. Dan says they played Pitbull’s “Time of Our Lives” on repeat until they arrived, switching it up only for LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem.”
“It got so much press that we were like, ‘Why don’t we just start our own company, deck out some buses, and let other people have a good time on it too?’ So that’s how we got to this point,” Dan says as the bus cruises through the Back Bay. “It’s just a bus that you can get on, you can have a good time, and really—I mean, you’re on the Gronk Bus. Mentally, you’re telling yourself you gotta have a good time and get after it. That’s what it’s all about.”
“And then, as we go on, each bus is going to have its own theme,” Gordy says. “This is the ‘Yo Soy Fiesta’ bus.
“Yeah, we’re probably going to make some more premium buses for professionals,” Dan says. “This one is more the upper-level of partying, and then maybe get some school buses that we deck out so you can bring it to a concert and go nuts or something like that.”
A Barstool blogger asks how much it’d cost to take the Gronk Bus to work, and Dan gives him a rough estimate of $69 an hour. Later, Gordy opens up about Rob’s ongoing problem with stalkers.
“People drive into his court and park outside. He had to tint all his windows in his house. So we’re going to put a gate at the end of his court now,” he says. “It was fun the first two weeks, but after that it’s like, you can have this life.”
The beer and Zinfandel have been exhausted by time the Gronk Bus returns to the Tasty Burger lot, so Dan asks us if we’ll do shots with him. He disembarks and returns with a pink box.
“I grabbed a bunch of single shots from my brother’s house on my way over,” he says, opening it to find a dozen nips, a protein bar, and a pack of Altoids. Gordy moves his hips to the beat of some Top 40 song—his drink, a vodka and Body Armor, the coconut water-based sports drink Rob endorses.
“You don’t get a hangover if you mix with this,” Dan says.
I hand Gordy the last nip, a Jack Daniels.
“I don’t drink whiskey,” he tells me. “I get whacky.”
“Whacky? Isn’t that the point?” I ask.
“No. I’ll start hitting people.”
I hide the nip.
Almost three hours later, the PR team tells us the Gronk Bus is due over at the Wahlburgers red carpet affair down the street for a convergence of these 21st century Brahmin clans. Dan and Gordy bid me a fond farewell, and I stumble out into the twilight—full of ground beef, thoroughly Gronk’d.
The Gronk Bus is available for reservations and a variety of packages.