The landscape of the NFL over the last couple of years could’ve looked a lot different, according to UFC president Dana White. That’s because White almost brokered a blockbuster deal to bring former New England Patriots teammates Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to the Las Vegas Raiders. Instead, they signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and won Super Bowl LV in their first season in Florida.
Dana White made an appearance on the Gronk family’s broadcast on ESPN+ for UFC 278 on Saturday night. During one segment, Rob convinced Dana to share the untold story of how he and arguably the greatest quarterback ever, Tom Brady, almost ended up in black and silver. However, then-head coach Jon Gruden supposedly nixed the huge deal at the last second.
“I worked to put that deal together for Brady and Gronk to come to the Raiders. It was almost a done deal,” White said during the UFC broadcast. “And at the last minute, Gruden blew the deal up and said that he didn’t want him and all hell broke loose, man. It was crazy.
“And Brady was already looking at houses. It wasn’t said yet that Gronk was coming. So Las Vegas would have had Brady and Gronk the year that the Bucs won the Super Bowl except Gruden blew the deal up. There’s so much story that goes along with this behind the scenes. I was never going to tell that story before Gronk just said it.”
“And Dana, that’s exactly what happened,” Gronk confirmed.
Rob Gronkowksi Is ‘Glad’ He and Tom Brady Ended Up in Tampa Bay
Considering Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski’s immediate impact in Tampa, things would’ve looked a lot different if they’d chosen to go to Las Vegas. Tampa likely wouldn’t have won the Super Bowl, Las Vegas might have won a Super Bowl or at least been in the discussion, and Raiders QB Derek Carr would be starting in a different city.
The domino effect of the potential move would’ve impacted much more than that, but it’s a moot point since it never happened. And that’s a deal Gronk admitted he’s thankful never went through.
“I’m glad it did not go through,” Gronkowski said on the show. “It all worked out for the best, man. I’m glad we went to Tampa, man. It just worked out. I love that place.”
And you can’t blame him. It’s basically unheard of for a pair of superstar players in the final chapters of their careers to win a Lombardi Trophy in their first season with a new team. You couldn’t have written that script any better for Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowksi, and the Bucs.
The wild news from UFC’s Dana White also helped solve a mystery pertaining to comments Brady made on LeBron James’ HBO series The Shop. Last summer, Brady made an appearance on the show and spoke about signing with Tampa. He also hinted at another interested team that backed out of signing him.
“There was a story in free agency, one of the teams, they were interested,” Tom Brady said on The Shop. “And all of a sudden, they weren’t interested at the very end. I was sitting there thinking, ‘You’re sticking with that mother****er? Are you serious?'”
We now know that mother****er was Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr. Mystery solved.