Jon Gruden

Jon Gruden

Gruden in August 2003
Date of birth August 17 1963 (1963-08-17) (age 57)
Place of birth Sandusky, Ohio
No. N/A
Career highlights
Coaching Record / Statistics
Super Bowl
Super Bowl XXXVII Head Coach Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Coaching stats Pro Football Reference
Coaching stats DatabaseFootball
Career player statistics (if any)
Team(s) as a player (if any)
Team(s) as a coach/administrator (if any)









University of Tennessee
(graduate assistant)
Southeast Missouri State
(quarterbacks coach)
University of Pacific
(wide receivers coach)
San Francisco 49ers
(offensive QC coach)
University of Pittsburgh
(wide receivers coach)
Green Bay Packers
(offensive assistant)
Green Bay Packers
(wide receivers coach)
Philadelphia Eagles
(offensive coordinator)
Oakland Raiders
(head coach)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(head coach)

Jon David Gruden (born August 17, 1963) is an ESPN analyst and former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for seven seasons and, prior to that, the Oakland Raiders for four seasons. In his first year as the head coach of Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers won Super Bowl XXXVII, defeating the Raiders whom he had left at the end of the preceding season. At the time, Gruden was the youngest head coach ever to win a Super Bowl. Gruden currently serves as one of two color commentators on ESPN Monday Night Football along with Ron Jaworski.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Early career[edit | edit source]

Gruden attended Clay High School in South Bend, Indiana, where his father Jim Gruden served as an assistant to Dan Devine at the University of Notre Dame. Feeling he would not have a chance to play for the Fighting Irish, Jon Gruden chose not to attend Notre Dame, where he would have received free tuition as a coach's child. Instead, he attended Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio. After just one year he transferred to the University of Dayton and was the back-up quarterback to Phil Nussman under coach Mike Kelly from 1982 until 1984.

Immediately after graduating with a degree in communications, Gruden started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Tennessee during the 1986 season. He found his way as the quarterbacks coach at Southeast Missouri State for two years. He then moved to the University of the Pacific in 1989 as offensive assistant as the tight ends coach, where he coached Scott Lubow who was second team All Conference. He became the wide receivers coach for the University of Pittsburgh under Paul Hackett in 1991. Walt Harris was the offensive coodinator at Tennessee, where Gruden was one of his graduate assistant coaches, and later hired him at Pacific.

Pro coaching career[edit | edit source]

In 1990, Gruden's father Jim set up an interview with Mike Holmgren, who was the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. Gruden impressed Holmgren with his knowledge of the game for such a young man. Holmgren hired Gruden as one of the first quality control coaches in the NFL.

He quickly ascended through the ranks of NFL coaching by learning the famous West Coast offense pioneered by longtime NFL coach Bill Walsh. When Holmgren left the 49ers to become head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1992, he took the promising young Gruden with him to become the team's wide receivers coach. After three seasons in Green Bay, Gruden moved on to become the offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles under former Packers assistant coach Ray Rhodes. Gruden then was chosen by the owner of the Oakland Raiders, Al Davis, to be the Raiders' new head coach for the 1998 season.

Oakland Raiders[edit | edit source]

Under Gruden, the Raiders posted consecutive 8–8 seasons in 1998 and 1999, and leapt out of last place in the AFC West. After uniting with journeyman quarterback Rich Gannon, Gruden led the Raiders to the top of the AFC West and made the playoffs three straight seasons (the third time under Head Coach Bill Callahan). Oakland finished 12–4 in the 2000 season, the team's most successful in a decade, and its first division title since 1990, ultimately reaching the AFC Championship, where they lost 16–3 to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Gannon was hurt early in the game on an ill-timed snap, and Ravens tackle Tony Siragusa was later fined $10,000 for a late hit on the play that caused the shoulder injury that knocked Gannon out of the game.

The Raiders acquired all-time leading receiver Jerry Rice prior to the 2001 season. They finished 10–6 and won a second straight AFC West title but lost their divisional-round playoff game to the eventual Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, in a controversial game that became known as the "Tuck Rule Game." The game went into overtime and the Patriots won, 16–13.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers[edit | edit source]

After compiling a 40–28 win-loss record (including playoffs) in four seasons with the Raiders, Gruden replaced the fired Tony Dungy as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002, via a high-stakes trade that included Tampa Bay's 2002 and 2003 first-round draft picks, 2002 and 2004 second-round draft picks, and $8 million in cash. The trade took place for a number of reasons, including Davis' desire for a more vertical passing attack rather than Gruden's horizontal pass attack, the fact that Gruden's contract would expire a year after the trade, and Davis' uncertainty over whether Gruden was worth as much money as his next contract was sure to pay him. Gruden signed a five-year contract with the Buccaneers worth $17.5 million.

The Bucs' search had taken more than two months, and had proven to be a major embarrassment to the Buccaneer organization. Tampa Bay had expressed an interest in Gruden, but Davis had originally refused to release him from his contract. The team subsequently interviewed several other coaches and believed a deal was in place with Bill Parcells, before Parcells backed out, reportedly because his choice for General Manager, Mike Tannenbaum, told him not to accept the job because of the salary cap difficulties that Tampa Bay was about to endure. With the franchise's search floundering, the coach they wanted having only one year remaining on his deal, and the immediate hire of Dungy by the Indianapolis Colts, many fans and sports commentators began to openly question if the Bucs had made the right move by dismissing Dungy. Only a big splash hire could quiet the storm, and this may have been the primary motivation for the Bucs to give up as much as they did to acquire Gruden.

Immediately after arriving in Tampa, Gruden significantly retooled the offense with the addition of numerous free agents. His determination to fix the under-performing offense so often maligned during Dungy's tenure inspired the Bucs defense to another #1 ranking, which helped the team to a 12–4 season and a win over Gruden's old team in Super Bowl XXXVII. Despite the Super Bowl win, there were many, including players on the Buccaneers like Warren Sapp, who attributed Gruden's win primarily to the defense that coach Tony Dungy and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin had created during Dungy's tenure with the Bucs. Gruden publicly and graciously thanked Dungy for his contributions upon accepting the Lombardi Trophy at the Super Bowl XXXVII postgame ceremony.

His mantra for the 2002 season was "Pound the Rock", a reference to never giving up. Gruden even went as far as to display a large chunk of granite in the locker room, a tactic mimicked by the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Their slogan, "Keep choppin' wood", was tainted when punter Chris Hanson injured his leg on an axe brought in to accompany a large log.) Upon returning to Tampa after winning Super Bowl XXXVII, he led a capacity crowd at Raymond James Stadium in chanting the phrase. However, it seemingly disappeared from the lexicon the following year, and was not aggressively marketed or displayed on stadium video boards.

In the two years following Gruden's Super Bowl win, the Buccaneers went 7–9 and 5–11 respectively, implying to many Dungy supporters that Gruden had simply taken over a strong team and then driven it into the ground. However, the high draft picks sacrificed by the team to acquire Gruden, along with salary-cap issues and failed draft choices forced upon him by the now-departed Rich McKay (with whom Gruden had a bitter relationship) limited Gruden's ability to field the teams he wanted after that successful Super Bowl-winning season. With no emerging talent in the fold and no money to afford replacements, the team was decimated by injuries to many of the Super Bowl stars, including Joe Jurevicius, Mike Alstott, Greg Spires, Shelton Quarles, Ken Dilger and Brian Kelly, as well as acrimony with highly-paid veterans such as Sapp, Keyshawn Johnson and Keenan McCardell.

When former Raiders general manager Bruce Allen joined the Bucs in 2004, Gruden finally had the general manager–head coach partnership he desired, and their 2004 and 2005 drafts yielded a few impact players, including 2005 Offensive NFL Rookie of the Year Award winner Carnell "Cadillac" Williams.

Also in 2005 marked a return to the playoffs, as the Bucs' posted a surprising 11–5 record, despite the loss of starting quarterback Brian Griese and some controversial coaching decisions, including a two-point conversion in the final seconds to defeat the Washington Redskins, who would later return to Tampa and eliminate the Bucs from the wild-card round of the playoffs.

In 2006, Gruden led the Buccaneers to a 4–12 season. It was his worst record as a head coach and the first time a Tampa Bay team had not won more than four games since 1991.

In an interview with Ira Kaufman of The Tampa Tribune on March 28, 2007, Bucs executive vice president Joel Glazer discussed the state of the Bucs. During the interview, Joel Glazer defended Gruden's performance, citing lost draft picks, injuries, and salary cap issues. However, he also said "Mediocrity will never be standard for the Buccaneers, but we have to move on."[1]

In 2007, the team finally cleared itself of salary cap constraints and united Gruden with a mobile West Coast quarterback in former Pro Bowler and Grey Cup winner Jeff Garcia. The team posted a 9–7 record with five division wins (after resting starters for the final two games), despite suffering major injuries, several season-ending, to critical players like Luke Petitgout, Carnell Williams, Mike Alstott, Alex Smith, Brian Kelly, Barrett Ruud, Michael Clayton, Patrick Chukwurah, Gaines Adams and starting kick and punt returner Mark Jones. Despite this adversity, however, Gruden declared "The future is so bright around here I have to wear shades".[2]

In 2008, Gruden was rewarded with a contract extension through the 2011 season. On November 30, Gruden earned his 100th win, against the New Orleans Saints. Going into December the Buccaneers were on pace to make the playoffs, claim a bye week and have home field advantage. However, the Buccaneers went winless in the month of December, and on December 28 the Buccaneers were eliminated from making the playoffs by the Oakland Raiders, the team Gruden left for Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers ended the season with four losses in a row.

Jon Gruden was fired by the Buccaneers on January 16, 2009, after seven seasons with the team.

Post–Tampa Bay career[edit | edit source]

Broadcasting[edit | edit source]

As of May 2009, Gruden had been working for ESPN as a color commentator on its Monday Night Football telecasts, replacing Tony Kornheiser. He also called the 2010 Rose Bowl and the 2010 BCS National Championship Game on ESPN Radio. Gruden also worked as a color analyst for ABC/ESPN during the 2011 Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida on New Year's Day and the 2011 Orange Bowl Game in Miami, Florida.

University of Miami speculation[edit | edit source]

On November 28, 2010, following the firing of University of Miami head football coach Randy Shannon, multiple media outlets reported that Gruden was under consideration for the head football coaching job at the university.[3] On December 2, 2010, Gruden said that he had met with University of Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt about the position, but that he remained committed to his affiliation with ESPN.[4]

University of Michigan speculation[edit | edit source]

On January 5, 2011, following the firing of head coach Rich Rodriguez from the University of Michigan, Jon Gruden was cited by several sources as a possible wild card option for the head coaching job at the University of Michigan.

University of Oregon speculation[edit | edit source]

In April 2009, Gruden turned down an offer to become the offensive coordinator for the Oregon Ducks.

The Ohio State University speculation[edit | edit source]

Gruden, an Ohio native, had been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Head Coaching position at Ohio State if Interim Head Coach Luke Fickell is not retained at the conclusion of the 2011 season.

Volunteer coaching[edit | edit source]

Jon Gruden is now a volunteer assistant offensive line coach at Carrollwood Day School in Tampa, Florida.

Head coaching record[edit | edit source]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
OAK 1998 8 8 0 .500 3rd in AFC West - - - -
OAK 1999 8 8 0 .500 4th in AFC West - - - -
OAK 2000 12 4 0 .750 1st in AFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to Baltimore Ravens in AFC Championship Game.
OAK 2001 10 6 0 .625 1st in AFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to New England Patriots in AFC Divisional Game.
OAK Total 38 26 0 .594 2 2 .500
TB 2002 12 4 0 .750 1st in NFC South 3 0 1.000 Super Bowl XXXVII Champions
TB 2003 7 9 0 .438 3rd in NFC South - - - -
TB 2004 5 11 0 .312 4th in NFC South - - - -
TB 2005 11 5 0 .688 1st in NFC South 0 1 .000 Lost to Washington Redskins in NFC Wild-Card Game.
TB 2006 4 12 0 .250 4th in NFC South - - - -
TB 2007 9 7 0 .563 1st in NFC South 0 1 .000 Lost to New York Giants in NFC Wild-Card Game.
TB 2008 9 7 0 .563 3rd in NFC South - - - -
TB Total 57 55 0 .509 3 2 .600
Total[5] 95 81 0 .540 5 4 .556

Coaching tree[edit | edit source]

NFL head coaches under whom Jon Gruden has served:

Assistant coaches under Jon Gruden who have become NFL head coaches:

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Gruden is a Roman Catholic. He and his wife, Cindy, have three sons, Jon II (Deuce), Michael, and Jayson. Gruden's younger brother Jay is currently the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals. His wife Cindy is from eastern Tennessee and graduated from the University of Tennessee, where Gruden also coached briefly in 1986.

Gruden grew up a Cleveland Browns fan.

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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