Before he became one of the top tight ends in the NFL, Rob Gronkowski was lighting up the Pac-10 with the Arizona Wildcats. Those who stayed up to watch the Wildcats in that old-fashioned Pac-10 After Dark (there were only 10 teams when Gronkowski played from 2007-2009) were able to get an early glimpse of the skills Gronk had to offer. Now, Arizona is celebrating one of their own with a bobblehead giveaway for fans attending fan appreciation night at the start of the 2017 season.
Arizona is giving away a Gronkowski bobblehead with Gronk posing in the spike position he has come to be known for.
— Arizona Athletics (@AZATHLETICS) August 7, 2017
The "Gronk Spike" Bobblehead from Arizona being given away this season. pic.twitter.com/pnEnK5oaLd
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) August 7, 2017
It looks pretty solid, but of course we cannot overlook the fact that this position would draw a couple penalty flags from Pac-12 officials today. From the removal of the football helmet to the mere act of spiking the football, Gronkowski would be penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct because football players are not supposed to have fun expressing themselves during a celebration. But the bobblehead looks pretty good otherwise, even if he is suited up in an all-red Arizona uniform (the worst Arizona has to offer, in my opinion).
What is overlooked here is how savvy a marketing tool this is for Arizona. The Wildcats are celebrating fan appreciation night in the season opener, a home game against an FCS opponent (Northern Arizona). A school better appreciate their fans for showing up for a game of such meager magnitude, and what better way to shower the fans with your appreciation than a bobblehead that is probably already listed on eBay? (I just checked while writing this and, surprisingly, it was not listed at the current moment. I expect that to change soon enough).
Giving away a bobblehead is an easy way to sell a few extra tickets, and this is a great move by Arizona to try and sell a few more tickets to a game very few people would like to see.