LOS ANGELES — Goodbye, Jimmy Kimmel. Hello, Rob Gronkowski to the world of bowl games.
The LA Bowl announced Saturday that Gronkowski has signed a multiyear agreement to partner with the college football postseason game. The LA Bowl Hosted By Gronk will take place at SoFi Stadium on Dec. 16 and match teams from the Mountain West and Pac-12 conferences.
“Jimmy was a fantastic host and brought a lot of elements to the game. But it’s my turn now, and I’m going to turn it up, that’s for sure,” Gronkowski said.
Gronkowski said having this bowl game named after him is in some ways a full-circle moment. His Arizona squad defeated BYU 31-21 in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl, which hosted the Mountain West vs. Pac-12 matchup before it was relocated to Los Angeles in 2021.
Rob’s brother, Chris Gronkowski, caught a 24-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to give the Wildcats their first bowl victory and winning season in 10 years.
It also ended up being Rob Gronkowski’s final collegiate game. He sat out the 2009 season due to back surgery before being drafted in the second round by the New England Patriots in 2010. He won four Super Bowl titles during an 11-year career — three with New England and one with Tampa Bay.
Kimmel, who hosted the first two editions of the LA Bowl, had a vomiting camel — “Jimmy Camel” — as a mascot and an official sandwich as ways to keep the fans entertained.
Gronkowski didn’t mention anything about a mascot, but he did say he was coming up with a special performance either at halftime or during the game along the lines of when he performed on “The Masked Singer” in 2020.
The winning team, along with the offensive and defensive MVPs, will continue to receive their own championship belts.
The game will feature the top selection from the Mountain West and the Pac-12’s No. 5 pick after the College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six matchups are set. The Mountain West has won the past two games, including Fresno State‘s 29-6 victory over Washington State last year.
With 10 schools leaving the Pac-12 at the end of the season, the future lineup for the LA Bowl will be determined next year.
Gronkowski said his dream would be if Arizona could become bowl eligible and be the Pac-12’s pick. The Wildcats (4-2) would need two more wins to be postseason eligible for the first time since 2017.
“The whole goal is hopefully to land the University of Arizona. And if we can’t, there’s a lot of good teams in the Pac-12 that would be a great matchup no matter who it is,” Gronkowski said. “It’s very disappointing that the Pac-12 is splitting up. You see the business side in the NFL, and now you’re seeing the business side of college football as well.”