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Studio Analyst Gronk Is Must-See TV: TRAINA THOUGHTS



1. When FOX announced it had hired Gronk as an NFL analyst in October, I was skeptical. 

Not because of Gronk, but because I figured we’d get the same old tired Gronk bits. Gronk spiking crap. Gronk dancing. Gronk spiking crap. (People with no creativity REALLY love to make Gronk things, so I mentioned it twice.)

Plus, during his career, it never seemed as if Gronk had TV aspirations. There was a part of me that believed Gronk agreed to become an analyst because he saw the first four letters of the word in the offer e-mail from his agent and just said yes right away.

But yesterday, with FOX getting the rare opportunity to air a Patriots game, the network jammed Gronk into their already crowded desk of analysts and relied on him for his expertise on all things New England. And Studio Analyst Gronk worked.

It didn’t work, though, because of what Gronk said. It worked simply because Gronk was Gronk.

Here’s the thing about sports television: For the most part, it’s all the same. Especially NFL studio shows, which are cookie-cutter city. If you watch all the shows on a Sunday morning, nothing ever stands out because it's all the same. Preview the games, run some interviews, feature painfully unfunny segments from a comedian, promote whatever is on your network that week, etc.

Studio Analyst Gronk works for one reason: He’s different. There is nothing like him on any other studio show. There is also a connection NFL fans have with Gronk that they don’t have with any other studio analyst because he just retired and because he's a big, lovable goofball.

So when Gronk says Julian Edelman "gets that nut," whenever he gets a chance, we love it because we don’t know if Gronk even realized what he said.

When Gronk, who we see 99% of the time in a tank top, T-shirt or shirtless, debuts a new look and rocks the turtleneck to transform into Studio Analyst Gronk, Twitter explodes.

When Gronk takes a shot at Jerry Jones, we enjoy it a little more than if Terry Bradshaw or Howie Long do it.

And when Studio Analyst Gronk cracks himself up with a joke about coming back to play, well, that’s just TV gold.

This isn't about being "good." This is about being entertaining. So often, people in sports television forget that entertaining viewers should be a priority. Right now, you can't deny that Gronk has been entertaining as hell on TV.

The fear, of course, is that FOX’s TV people try to change Gronk and make him a more “professional" TV guy. No, no, no. Just leave Studio Analyst Gronk alone.

Let Gronk be Gronk and you have must-watch TV every week.

2. Bucs defensive tackle Vita Vea, who weighs 347 pounds, became the biggest player in NFL history to score a touchdown and it was beautiful.

3. The Rock and Danny DeVito crashed a wedding over the weekend and sang "Unforgettable" for the bride and groom.

4. Yes, mental health is discussed these days more than ever, but there is still a huge stigma surrounding the issue, especially when it comes to pro athletes. So this message, sent by Eagles offensive lineman Brandon Brooks, about his absence during Sunday's loss to the Seahawks, took a lot of guts and should be applauded. 

5. Sorry, Richard. Nobody believes you were joking when you said this about the pathetic Knicks.

6. This week's SI Media Podcast features an interview with FOX Sports' lead college football analyst Joel Klatt.

Topics discussed include why Klatt hates calling blowouts, having to be careful about getting in too deep with X's and O's, what it's like working with Gus Johnson, whether he's competitive with Gary Danielson and Kirk Herbstreit, how he feels about the potential for 9 a.m. kickoffs for Pac-12 games, and much more.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play.

7. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY:In honor of Vita Vea, here are some of the best "Big Guy" moments in NFL history.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.