Jon Gruden’s credentials speak for themselves. You don’t finish with a fifty-plus percent career winning percentage and become the youngest head coach to ever win a Super Bowl by accident. While he will never be confused with the legendary leaders of men that football has produced over the decades, Gruden was definitely reasonably good at what he did.
That being said, the unspoken truth about his championship campaign was always that the groundwork for that title was laid before he got there, and the only reason the Tampa Bay Buccaneers even brought him on board is because they couldn’t get someone better. This isn’t just fan talk; players from that team, the ones who won a title for him, all echoed that specific sentiment.
So while it is totally and completely indisputable that Gruden is a solid coach, it’s hard to figure out why there has been this ridiculous clamor to bring him back into the fold. Given the way Tennessee and an assortment of pro teams have thrown themselves at him over the past few months, you would think that the guy was coming off back-to-back championships.
He was fired by the Bucs – he didn’t voluntarily leave on top. He has been away from the game for three years. Yes, he sounds great when he’s throwing questions at NFL-bound college prospects, but that’s hardly representative of the mental and physical toll that coaching in the NFL takes on you. There is absolutely no reason to think that he could step into a vacant position right now and make any sort of difference. Which probably explains why he has been linked to the Dallas Cowboys in recent days. After all, if there is one group out there who will make a completely random, pointless hire at this juncture – it’s definitely Jerry Jones and Co. Well, that and because the team has quietly (and hilariously) assembled a coaching staff comprised of talent from Gruden’s old days in Tampa Bay.
So, is Gruden coming to Jerry World? According to ESPN: no.
Response from reliable team source when I asked if TB glory-days asst. coaches being hired in Dallas meant Gruden on way: "Ridiculous."
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) January 27, 2013
This isn’t the first time Gruden’s return has been dismissed in this sort of definitive fashion.
“Jon made it clear that he was not coming back to the NFL this year,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said a few weeks back, when folks wondered why he wasn’t making a harder push for Gruden.
It’s a virtual lock that Gruden’s professional coaching career is over. Still, it’s never ceases to amaze how many high-ups out there will become enamored with the unknown over a proven, solid commodity just based on glitz factor and nothing else.