It’s a game that has been played for nearly a decade, maybe longer. Coach Jon Gruden and his long-time agent, Bob LaMonte, believe that Gruden’s overall interests are served if there’s a perception that he’s in high demand.
And since he apparently has no real intention of ever coaching at the college level, Gruden is willing to use the occasional NCAA program as a pawn in his greater game of look-at-me. (He’d never do that with an NFL team, since he wants to maintain bridges to as many NFL franchises as possible, as evidenced by the weekly butt-smooching in which he engages from the broadcast booth.)
It started while he was still coaching the Raiders, with talk that Gruden was on Notre Dame’s radar. Last year, the ridiculous notion that he could coach at Louisville emerged.
Now, Gruden has been linked to the “U”. And he has denied it without denying it, affirming his commitment to ESPN without saying that he didn’t (as reported elsewhere) initiate contact with Miami.
Gruden wants to coach again. Gruden needs to coach again. And with the NFL hiring cycle currently tilting toward promoting from within due to the ongoing labor drama, Gruden needs to find a way to force his name to the front of the brains of the folks who’ll be hiring NFL head coaches in January.
It’s a simple yet brilliant approach, with no real downside. Gruden wants to be talked about as a potential head coach, and it’s working.