The build-up and hype surrounding the 2016 AFC Championship has rightly centered on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning squaring off for the 17th time in their illustrious careers. But it’s their teammates and fans who are drumming up the controversy by trading barbs on social media titan Twitter.
One of the most recent and well received tweets came Tuesday from Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who responded to a fan’s tweet about regarding Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr.’s tip on how to defend Gronkowski and how she didn’t want to see touchdown-catching machine hurt by a low blow from Denver’s formidable group of defenders.
Heard their whole team is good at giving low blows https://t.co/nDOsOwkvki
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) January 19, 2016
Garnering more than 54,000 re-tweets and hearts was a simple innuendo that the Broncos official Twitter account responded to about two hours later.
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 20, 2016
Gronkowski’s off-the-cuff remark also illicited many funny tweets from fans.
— Shane Bostian (@SB7_Era) January 19, 2016
— BOSTON™ (@BoucherMitch) January 19, 2016
— Samantha Owen (@HeyGirlSamantha) January 20, 2016
— Real Truth (@hardtruth4real) January 20, 2016
Meanwhile, Brady hasn’t been able to escape the remarks from Denver defensive lineman Antonio Smith, who labeled the three-time Super Bowl MVP a “cry baby” for arguing with referees every time he’s sacked.
"That would be an accurate statement. I've never seen any quarterback look to the referee right after he gets sacked more than Brady," Smith told the Colorado Springs Gazette on Monday. "Every time he gets sacked, he looks at the ref like, 'You see him sack me? Was that supposed to happen? He did it a little hard. Please throw a 15-yard penalty on him. Get him fined.'"
Those statements were only strengthened by Denver defensive lineman Malik Jackson and his accusing Brady for throwing temper tantrums and that he whines during games. Brady didn’t take to his Facebook account like Gronkowski his Twitter, but said he loves when refs throw flags on defenses, according to USA Today.
But the “crybaby” tag already snuck into the game’s main headlines, leading to a seemingly endless array of tweets from NFL fans and barbs from the New York media who typically rip Brady at every turn. And many Patriots supporters questioned why the Broncos would even try to stoke a fire in Brady.
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) January 20, 2016
Tom Brady is such a manly man. He absolutely doesn't look like a crybaby 4 year old pig-tailed girl. He definitely doesn't sit when he pees.
— No Hoosier Says (@NobodySays_Indy) January 19, 2016
— Joe Russell (@user422) January 19, 2016
@SInow Antonio Smith.. Who dat? The only good Smith was Antwone Smith n he won a Super bowl with New England ! Ull eat words soon enough!
— Donald Francis (@DONFRANCIS711) January 20, 2016