Former New York Giants wide receiver Homer Jones was just trying to save some money. In turn, he created a hugely popular endzone celebration known as the “spike.”
On Oct. 17, 1965, Jones scored his first career touchdown, which was an 89-yarder against the Philadelphia Eagles. He originally wanted to throw the ball into stands like he had seen Frank Gifford do; but after the ’64 season, commissioner Pete Rozelle decided to issue a $500 fine because people were getting injured while fighting in the stands for the ball.
And all because of the fine, Jones threw the ball to the ground when he crossed the goal line, and the spike was invented.
Forty-five years after its creation, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski turned the endzone celebration of the spike into a cultural sensation known as the “Gronk Spike.”
The Gronk Spike debuted on Sept. 26, 2010 when the star tight end scored his second NFL touchdown on a short pass from Tom Brady. Since then, Gronk has engineered no fewer than 72 spikes in his career. He even spiked a beer at the Patriots’ Super Bowl celebration last season, a bridal bouquet at a wedding and a puck at a Boston Bruins game.
But just how powerful is the Gronk Spike? Thanks to a study by former MIT graduate, Dan Thaler, we now know that the ball leaves Gronkowski’s hand at 60 mph, which is faster than a pro golfer’s swing.
To enact in the perfect Gronk Spike, make sure you hold the tip of the ball, not the belly, says Gronk. “So when you follow through, you can hit the belly of the ball right onto the ground, and it gives you the most power and the most explosiveness that you can get and generate.”
Here’s to hoping we see more Gronk Spikes in Super Bowl LII!
Enjoy these facts and trends of Rob Gronkowki’s personalized endzone celebration, provided by ESPN.
-The tight end typically only spikes when the Patriots are leading. There have been three occasions when he passed up the opportunity because New England was trailing in the game.
-Gronk usually performs a solo act. There has only been one time he performed with another player - when receiver Danny Amendola “cleared” an area for him to do his stunt by kicking away invisible debris on the turf.
-He “knows his audience.” After scoring at Wembley Stadium in 2012, the tight end proceeded to act like a Royal Guard, marching like a soldier before slamming the ball to the ground in celebration.
-Instead of celebrating his first NFL touchdown with a spike, the rookie walked over to Brady and handed him the ball.
-His success rate isn’t 100 percent. Gronk actually whiffed in 2012 in a game with the Tennessee Titans.
-Gronk has only received three taunting penalties in eight years.
-He occasionally switches up his pre-windup technique, as we’ve seen a shoulder shimmy, back-step, bicep flex and more throughout the years.