By: Blake Probert
Jon Gruden landed back in the NFL in January like a sunken ship slamming into a sea floor. That’s the analogy that seems most fitting here; millions of dollars are already sunk and most of everyone’s fate will be sealed in time of the long, and slow journey to the bottoms end. Yet, for the average NFL fan, this seems to be a source of excitement. One the league’s greatest coaches has returned to take the helm of one it’s most famous franchises!
I’m here to tell you, they are wrong.
Gruden at his core, is a platitude slinging, product of media hype, whose biggest professional accomplishment came with a roster built by another coach. Thanks to a Super Bowl win and a cushy job at ESPN, people remember him as one of the league’s elite head coaches, but Bill Bellichick he “ain’t”. Throwing out his first game back in Oakland, his winning percent sits at a cool .540. Now there’s a guy who’s average!
You think Gruden is some brilliant coach who has been biding his time outside the league, just waiting for the right time to jump back in? False! This is a guy who saw the writing on the wall nine years ago and took a sweet gig cashing ESPN checks. Realizing his credibility was at an all-time high, he chose to do TV and be King of the Armchair Quarterbacks who love ESPN’s bland brand of “expertise”.
Accidentally walked in the ESPN booth before the game, man. For a second I forgot I coach now. It was like accidentally driving to your ex’s house with your girlfriend in the car. Wild
— Jon Gruden (@Faux_Gruden) September 11, 2018
Think back over Gruden’s time on ESPN. Did you ever hear him say something interesting or insightful during a Monday night game? No, you did not. You heard him do the “Now here’s a guy…” routine 4,567,898 times and offer lame critiques that featured no actual criticism. If you like clichés though, this was your guy.
Every now and then he’d throw the name of the play in just make sure you were awake and still thought he was an expert. “Spider 2 Y-Banana” he’d say and you’d think, “Wow, that’s so exotic sounding. This guy must know what’s up”. Balderdash! Do you know what the number one option on Spider 2 Y-Banana is? It’s a damn fullback!
Now, after nearly a decade broadcasting, Gruden is dragged back into coaching. And he was “dragged” back in, make no mistake about it. Mark Davis had been trying to lure Jon back to the Raiders for more than six years. Clearly, Davis finally found a price Gruden was willing to trash his reputation for, and the Raiders have their man at 10 years, $100 million. You know this was a great decision by Davis– how could a man with that haircut do anything stupid?
The fallout has been almost immediate. The Raiders best player– a once in a generation, future HOF DE in Kahlil Mack, now plays for the Bears. The QB (Derek Carr) Gruden kept instead of Mack, (because Oakland couldn’t afford two expensive players?) was thrown under the bus after week one. Martavis Bryant, the troubled wide out they traded a third rounder for? They’ve already cut… and then resigned him? The GM who didn’t want to trade Mack and whom Gruden barely communicated with? It’s already in the media trade winds that Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders are headed toward a split. Nothing to see here, clearly. Just a bunch of normal, functional NFL franchise stuff.
I’ll tell ya what, I’m not sure who that number 52 is for Chicago, but that guy can play. That’s the type of player you want on your team, man. I’m going to have to do some research on this guy
— Jon Gruden (@Faux_Gruden) September 10, 2018
Things aren’t all bad in Oakland though! The team is still moving and all of Gruden’s mis-deeds will soon be Las Vegas’ problem…..and at least those Corona Hotline Commercials suck a little less without Gruden popping up unexpectedly during Sunday football.