2018 Raiders Gameday 21
Jon Gruden returns as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, welcoming back
one of the most respected and successful coaches in the storied history of
the Silver and Black. Gruden, who was first introduced as head coach of the
Raiders 20 years ago, served four seasons with the Raiders from 1998-2001.
The naming of Gruden marks his return to coaching after spending nearly a
decade in broadcasting, including color analyst duties on the Monday Night
Football franchise from 2009-2017. Gruden compiled a 95-81 (.540) regular
season mark in 11 seasons as a head coach with the Raiders and the Tampa Bay
Buccaneers (2002-08), and a 5-4 record (.556) in postseason contests, which
includes a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII.
The youngest head coach in the NFL at age 34 upon his initial hire by Raiders
Owner Al Davis in 1998, Gruden posted a 38-26 record (.594) and led the
Silver and Black to back-to-back AFC West titles in 2000 and 2001. He guided
the Raiders to an AFC Championship Game appearance in 2000, a campaign
in which the Raiders set a franchise record with 479 points and led the NFL in
rushing (154.4 avg.).
The Raiders ranked in the top-seven in total offense in three of Gruden’s four
seasons in Oakland, including the top-three in rushing twice and the top-seven
in passing once. Defensively, Gruden’s units twice ranked among the league’s
top-10 in total defense, including the fifth-overall rush defense in 2000 and two
top-nine finishes in passing defense.
In all, Gruden-led teams have claimed five division championships and have
recorded six seasons with nine-or-more wins. As a head coach, he has seen
21 different players combine for 39 Pro Bowl selections. He has also coached
recipients of the Associated Press’ Defensive Rookie of the Year (Charles
Woodson – 1998), Defensive Player of the Year (Derrick Brooks – 2002) and
Offensive Rookie of the Year (Carnell “Cadillac” Williams – 2005) Awards. In
addition, Rich Gannon was tabbed for the Maxwell Club’s Bert Bell Award as the
league’s Most Valuable Player in 2000 and four players who Gruden tutored as
a head coach have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Jerry Rice
(2010), Warren Sapp (2013), Brooks (2014) and Tim Brown (2015).
Regarded as one of the league’s top quarterback mentors, Gruden tutored
Gannon to three Pro Bowl selections in Oakland and two of the then-top three
single-season passing yardage totals in Raiders history. Gannon was the first of
three quarterbacks under Gruden as a head coach to be selected for the Pro
Bowl (1999-2001), as both Brad Johnson (2002) and Jeff Garcia (2007) earned
recognition during his time with the Buccaneers. Gruden became just the fifth
head coach since 1980 to win four-or-more division titles with four different
quarterbacks starting in the playoffs.
Gruden joined ESPN in 2009 as an analyst for Monday Night Football and
contributed analysis year-round on ESPN’s platforms, earning six Sports Emmy
nominations. In addition to Monday Night Football, Gruden was part of ESPN’s
annual NFL Draft coverage and his Gruden’s QB Camp series became one of the
network’s most anticipated programs each year.
His QB Camp primetime series debuted in 2010, featuring in-depth, oneon
one interviews and film sessions in which he mentored top quarterback
prospects, including Raiders current signal-callers Derek Carr, Connor Cook and
EJ Manuel. The success of Gruden’s QB Camp show led to similar specials,
including a Gruden’s Champ Camp special with New Orleans Saints Super Bowl
winners Drew Brees and Sean Payton in 2010, as well as a SportsCenter Special
with Brett Favre prior to his enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In addition to his NFL role, Gruden called numerous college football telecasts
for ESPN, including the Rose Bowl (2010) and BCS National Championship
games (2010 and 2011) for ESPN Radio, and the 2011 and 2012 Outback
and Orange Bowl games, where he worked alongside former MNF partner Mike
Tirico and others.
Gruden conducted regular film study at his Tampa office – affectionately
named the FFCA (Fired Football Coaches Association), welcoming high school,
college and professional coaches to discuss football strategy, philosophy and to
review game film.
Gruden spent seven seasons as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,
finishing his time there as the winningest coach in franchise history by compiling a
57-55 (.509) regular-season record, while leading the Buccaneers to three division
titles and a 3-2 mark in the postseason. Under Gruden’s direction, Tampa Bay
posted three top-15 finishes in passing offense and boasted five top-five defenses,
including the league’s overall leader in defense in both 2002 (252.8 avg.) and
2005 (277.8 avg.). The Buccaneers’ defensive units also led the NFL in passing
defense in 2002 (155.6 avg.), 2004 (161.2 avg.) and 2007 (170.5 avg.).
Tampa Bay posted a 9-7 record in 2008, narrowly missing the playoffs
despite recording the team’s most net passing yards (3,619) since 2003 and
scoring the second-most points (361) in team history at the time. Additionally,
the Bucs eclipsed 1,800 yards rushing (1,837) for the third time in four
seasons and the defense tied for third in the league with 22 interceptions.
In 2007, Gruden led the Buccaneers to their third NFC South title in six years,
becoming the first coach in team history to claim three division titles. He also
became the first coach to win multiple NFC South titles since the division was
created in 2002 and his five-career division crowns were tied for second among
active coaches at the time. Gruden’s quarterbacks set a franchise record by throwing
just eight interceptions, which was the lowest single-season total in team history.
The team averaged 4.17 yards per rushing attempt, which ranked second in club
history, and the 117.0 yards per game on the ground marked the sixth-highest
average in team annals. Garcia was named to the Pro Bowl after establishing a team
mark with a 1.2 interception percentage. Defensively, the Bucs ranked second in
the NFL (278.4 avg.) and topped the league in passing defense (170.5 avg.).
Gruden started three different quarterbacks during the 2006 season with
Chris Simms starting the first three games before suffering an injury. Bruce
Gradkowski started 11 contests and established himself among the top rookie
signal callers in team history, instituting several rookie passing marks before
giving way to Tim Rattay for the final two games of the season.
The Buccaneers notched an 11-5 record and their second NFC South title
in four years in 2005, led by Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year
Williams, who set a Tampa Bay rookie record with 1,178 rushing yards. After
starting quarterback Brian Griese went down with a season-ending injury, Simms
led the Bucs to wins in six of the team’s final eight games and posted a 61.0
completion percentage to lead the team into the playoffs for the first time since
2002. The defense finished as the top-ranked unit in the league (277.8 avg.),
marking the fourth-straight year that the team ranked among the top-five in total
defense, and the second time that the group ranked first under Gruden.
In 2004, Griese ranked first in the NFL with a 69.3 completion percentage
and established franchise marks for passer rating (97.5) and yards per pass
attempt (7.8 avg.). Griese also began a streak of 12 consecutive games with
19th season in NFL
5th season with Raiders