In their 41-17 rout of the Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady did not leave the game until late in the fourth quarter until he guaranteed that tight end and close friend Rob Gronkowski reach his incentive milestones.

Gronkowski entered the game needing seven catches and 85 yards to earn a total of $1 million. He reached the 85-yard mark midway through the second half, but he was stuck at six catches late in the fourth quarter with the Buccaneers up, 31-17. With an insurmountable lead, the Buccaneers wanted to sit the 44-year-old Brady, but the veteran quarterback refused to leave the game until Gronkowski got his seventh catch of the game.

Seconds later, Brady connected with Gronkowski for a 7-yard pass before leaving.

After the game, Gronkowski said he would take his fellow tight ends out to lunch together with the backup quarterbacks, but he said he wouldn’t bring along Brady. During his “Let’s Go” podcast, Brady discussed Gronkowski’s statement, saying he’s OK not to join the tight end to dinner, saying “that’s OK, I know what he eats,” per Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times. “Let’s just say it’s not along with the guidelines of TB12,” said Brady, referring to his holistic approach to health and wellness.

Brady lauds Gronkowski

During the podcast, Brady lauded Gronkowski, calling him an incredible player and a great teammate.

“I think what he does day-in and day-out to prepare himself is what blows me away,” said Brady, adding that Gronkowski is the greatest tight end in NFL history.

Brady also called it amazing what Gronkowski does in the run game and pass game and his kind of teammate. “We should all appreciate the amazing things that he’s accomplished,” said Brady, adding that there’s only one Rob Gronkowski despite the entry of talents in the NFL that scouts are dubbing as the “next Rob Gronkowski.” Gronkowski finished the game with seven catches for 137 yards, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez for the most 100-yard games in league history among tight ends.

Bucs-Eagles set at 1:00 PM

With their win over the Panthers coupled with a loss by the Los Angeles Rams to the San Francisco 49ers, the Buccaneers earned the No. 2 seed in the NFC and the right to play No. 7 Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card Game at Raymond James Stadium.

According to Scott Smith of, the Buccaneers-Eagles showdown will be played at 1:00 PM and to be broadcast by FOX.

Last season, the Buccaneers won three straight playoff games on the road before they won Super Bowl LV at home, becoming the first team in NFL history to win the Lombardi Trophy in their own field. If the Buccaneers beat the Eagles, it will guarantee them another second playoff game at Raymond James Stadium.