It’s time to stop the Jon Gruden madness.
Spider 2 Y Banana isn’t coming to your town, save with Mire Tirico for the occasional “Monday Night Football” broadcast.
The ex-Super Bowl winning coach is always a sexy name this time of year in coaching searches because the casual fan knows his name and successes, while others on the various short lists, who have been grinding it out every day in an NFL environment, don’t have the pulpit of familiarity that television offers Jay Gruden’s big brother.
Jon has also embraced being a big TV star and doesn’t exactly mind the extra attention he receives when the latest insider floats his name as a possible option for the local 22 that in truth would feel much more comfortable moving forward with a young, rising star in the profession like say Adam Gase or Teryl Austin.
A Philadelphia reporter was the latest to throw the Gruden dart at the wall because well you know he coached there for three years back in the 1990s so why wouldn’t he give up the cushy high-paying job for the ridiculously time-consuming one where he gets the bonus of squaring off with his brother in a steel-cage match twice a year?
At best, stories like these get out because agents are misleading reporters and at worst, it’s simply click-bait to fuel the low-information crowd into populating a website or buying a newspaper.
Whatever this was, after The Philadelphia Daily News reported that Gruden had reached out to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie through a third party to express his interest before the former coach himself texted another local reporter to refute the claim.
— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) January 8, 2016
So far, the Eagles have interviewed in-house candidates Duce Staley and Pat Shurmur for their head-coaching job, along with Gase, Chicago’s offensive coordinator, and New York Giants OC Ben McAdoo. Gruden, meanwhile, is getting ready to call Saturday’s playoff game between Kansas City and Houston.
The problem for the actual franchises searching for their next leader is the vast majority of any particular fan base is of that casual variety and once they hear the name Gruden, Bill Cowher or Brian Billick, that cachet overshadows more legitimate options like Gase or McAdoo, who in turn become quite the letdown.
As for Gruden himself, it’s likely the competitive fire still burns and at 52, jumping out of the booth and back on the sidelines is certainly viable for him. However, he’s also smart enough to know, Bum Phillips was right.
“There’s two kinds of coaches, ‘dem that’s fired and ‘dem that’s gonna be fired,” the legendary former Houston Oilers mentor once said.
Gruden is shaping up as this generation’s John Madden and “doggonit,” he’s staying in the booth just like the original.
— John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jfmcmullen — Also catch John this season on ESPN Southwest Florida every Monday at 3 PM ET; on ESPN Lexington every Thursday at 6:05 ET, and live every Tuesday from 2 to 6 PM ET at the Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic City for the Sports Bash on ESPN South Jersey.
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