Special teams work isn't typically a priority in college football spring games, but Arizona made a party out of a unique special teams stunt on involving legendary former Wildcats star Rob Gronkowski ahead of the spring game this year. The four-time Super Bowl winner was supposed to just be a guest coach for the scrimmage on Saturday, facing off against fellow former Arizona and New England Patriots star Ted Bruschi.
However, when Gronkowski walked onto the field at Arizona Stadium in pads on Friday, it was clear something was up. Way up, actually. To be exact, a football was 600 feet up in a helicopter circling the stadium, and Gronkowski's mission was simple. The 31-year-old NFL superstar was tasked with setting a Guinness World Record for "the highest altitude catch that's ever been done in the world," as Arizona coach Jedd Fisch described it.
As Arizona players watched nearby with cell phone cameras rolling, Gronkowski missed his first two attempts and even slammed his helmet to the turf after one miss. However, the former first-team All Pac-10 performer from his college days caught the third attempt and was swarmed by the team.
"Every time you step on the field, you've got to raise the bar to another level, baby," Gronkowski said. "And I just raised that bar to this level."
The sequence and the joy it appeared to provide Arizona's players is emblematic of the culture that Fisch is trying to bring to an Arizona program that is just 9-20 over the last three seasons. With Bruschi on staff as an advisor and Gronkowski back around the program this weekend, it's clear the Wildcats are trying to remind prospects that the program has some quality football history.