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Super Bowl XLIX not short on characters thanks to Lynch, Gronkowski

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If Super Bowl week is a major motion picture, Marshawn Lynch and Rob Gronkowski are vying for Oscars. Both are stars on the field but it’s off the field antics that make them a consistent draw.

Lynch, the quiet Seattle Seahawks running back who consistently makes the media’s head spin, gives the same answer to every question. Gronkowski, the decorated New England Patriots tight end, is a well-publicized partier who engages in more than his fair share of debauchery.

Both embody the exaggerated week of Super Bowl XLIX. Lynch is the “business trip” analogy players consistently echo and is focused on the game in Glendale. Gronkowski is on every A-list celebrity party guest list in Scottsdale along with the likes of Drake, Snoop Dogg and Rihanna.

“I mean there’s a college kid left in everyone,” Gronkowski said. “I bet you, too, if you could go back you would for a night or two.”

“Gronk,” as he’s affectionately known by his fans, even has his own party bus similar to those found roaming Old Town Scottsdale on weekends. The bus, sponsored by the drink “Body Armor,” features music and movies.

“It’s on its way down here,” he said. “I’m sure there will be some pictures with it and all that good stuff.”

This is the same player who has done photo shoots with kittens, whipped his shirt off at clubs and has an erotica book published about him available on Amazon. Asked why it’s such a big deal when he parties, Gronkowski said,

“Because I’m a baller, is that a good answer?”

Gronkowski’s wild side doesn’t concern Patriots Coach Bill Belichick. In fact, he believes his life in the fast lane makes him play better.

“Rob always has a great energy and enthusiasm for the game, is always ready to go, loves to practice, loves to work, works hard in the weight room, competes well all the time,” Belichick said. “You never really have to get on Rob and go, ‘You know, that wasn’t your best,’ or that kind of thing.”

Lynch’s quiet arrogance is the perfect foil to Gronkowski’s laid back, occasionally snarky attitude. Lynch attracts media wherever he goes, thinking this might finally be the day the skittle-lover decides to answer a question. Lynch’s answers this season include, “yup,” “nope,” “I’m thankful” and, “thank you for asking.”

On the biggest stage this week, Super Bowl Media Day Tuesday, Lynch’s choice words for more than 2,000 media were, “I’m just here so I don’t get fined,” Wednesday he logically added, “You know why I’m here.”

Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll admires Lynch, almost encouraging his behavior.

“I think that you’re seeing a demonstration of a guy being himself and not being what everybody wants him to be,” Carroll said. “That is why you will continue to hear our players support him. He’s trying to do the best job he can of being him and maybe you don’t feel that that’s what he should do, but that is what is going on. In that sense, he’s being true to himself and we understand that.”

The personalities of Lynch and Gronkowski are so huge one sentence can go viral on the internet. They are media magnets. That’s why two reporters waited more than an hour in front of a podium to hear Lynch speak.

“There are 51 other players here to interview, you know that, right?” said one.

“Yeah,” answered the other. “But I just can’t turn away.”

Graphic: Langston Fields