AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - The family of a western New Yorker playing in the Super Bowl is in Indianapolis to watch Sunday's big game.
Rob Gronkowski's folks are going to support him, but the Patriots tight end also has friends in Buffalo cheering for a team they usually root against.
He now plays tight end for the New England Patriots, but Rob Gronkowski is first and foremost an Amherst native. As he takes to the field at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, his parents, siblings, and whole extended family are up in the stands, cheering for him - even if they are in the minority.
Rob's sister-in-law Brittany Gronkowski said, "I feel like I'm at a home game for the Giants, but there's also plenty of 87 jerseys and 83's. So that's exciting, when we get to see Gronkowski fans out there, walking around the streets."
Rob's brother Dan, a tight end for the Cleveland Browns, shared with News 4 the advice he gave his sibling.
"I just told him to keep on doing what he's doing. It's just another game. Stay focused. Big players like him make big plays in games like this. So, I told him to keep on going," said Dan.
Friends, former teachers and acquaintances are equally as psyched for Gronkowski. They'll gather to watch him in a favorite neighborhood tavern, where Gronkowski jerseys adorn the walls. John Bona, owner of Amherst Pizza and Ale House, has known the Gronkowski family since the boys were just kids.
"Everyone has a little rooting interest for a team that we normally don't cheer for in this Buffalo market," Bona said. "To see a guy that we see come through the doors here often, and know personally, is something that I think we're all a little proud of."
Having a hometown boy in the big game is almost as good as the hometown team being there.
"It'd be great to someday shake his hand and congratulate him, and see the Super Bowl ring on it. It'd be neat," said Bona.
Many of Gronkowski's friends and fans are sporting a shirt that sports his likeness and states, "Yo soy fiesta." There's a funny story there.
Bona explains, "Rob was interviewed after the AFC Championship game by a Spanish reporter for ESPN. And he was asked if he was going to do any partying or celebrating, because they had won the game. And his comment, in Spanish, was "Yo soy fiesta." So, he basically said, "I am party." And it took on a life of its own, and they have t-shirts now."
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