The Gruden leverage game accelerates

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Next week, when the Panthers and Eagles prepare to square off on Monday Night Football, one of the guys from the ESPN broadcast team eventually could end up being a candidate to coach either of the teams that will be playing.


Indeed, on a night when Eagles fans will be loudly and continuously calling for the ouster of Andy Reid, they also will be welcoming Gruden back to Philly with pleas that he return to the franchise where he served as offensive coordinator before Reid was hired to serve as head coach.  It will make for an interesting production meeting between the pair of former Packers assistant coaches, and every word Gruden utters from the booth will be parsed for clues as to what he plans to do.

Actually, anything and everything he says — and doesn’t say — over the balance of the season should be regarded that way.  With reports mounting that Gruden is preparing a return to coaching, the public silence from Gruden regarding his plans speaks volumes.

The latest report, which gives no credit to the pre-existing reports, comes from CBS, and it expands the Gruden universe to include college jobs at Arkansas and Tennessee.  Which means that Gruden’s agent, Bob LaMonte, is trying to ensure the best possible terms for a Gruden return, both from a cash and power and quality-of-program standpoint.

That’s why Gruden has pulled punches over the last few years from the broadcast booth.  He knows that, when he finally returns, maximum options will lead to maximum leverage, which will allow him to pick the best situation — with the ability to win and get paid a ton of money and have a lot of power all rolled in to one big giant of mojo.

Until Gruden says that he’s not returning, the presumption should be that he is.  And the coaches of the teams he’ll visit for the remaining MNF games should be understandably leery.

After all, they could be competing with Gruden before too long.

If it ever becomes a problem, ESPN can announce another exclusive contract extension with Gruden, while continuing to refuse to elaborate on whether the exclusivity means he can’t leave the four-letter network for a job in a three-letter football league.

40 responses to “The Gruden leverage game accelerates

  1. Well, we know he will not go to Arkansas.

    Gruden has said if he ever coached in college it would be at UT or ND-but it’s not gonna happen.

    The NFL spotlight is a drug Gruden cannot turn down. He will be Eagles coach shortly after the regular season ends.

    If Gruden does not take a job this year, he is going to be in the Cowher situation of letting his “window” pass and teams will stop chasing him every year.

  2. Gruden won a SB with another coach’s team, then he didn’t win another playoff game over the next 6 years, culminating with this firing. Why would anyone want this guy?

  3. I just can’t see him coaching the eagles, I hope I’m wrong but I just can’t. Seems more like Brian Billick or Josh McDaniels will get the job, certainly hope not but I don’t feel good about this. But either way it’s better than Andy at this point.

  4. grapes911

    I agree with you. This may be the most over hyped coach sense the Saints hired Mike Ditka. What I don’t understand I why Philly is so fired up to have Gruden coach there. There is another issue I’m having with him going to Philly. He’s a west coast offense guy to. In fact; I think he’s offensively exactly like Reed, that being said I think he will be coaching next year. And, I’m pretty sure it will be Philly or Jacksonville in the pros. If he decides to give colleage a try, USC, Trojans

  5. grapes911 says:
    Nov 19, 2012 9:16 AM
    Gruden won a SB with another coach’s team, then he didn’t win another playoff game over the next 6 years, culminating with this firing. Why would anyone want this guy?
    Right on, the ignorance when it comes to Gruden is amazing.

    There’s so many Raider fans that want him back because he was the HC last time they were good.

    What they fail to understand though is that Gruden got rid of good young players for older vets.

    This won’t fly with a team that’s rebuilding for the long term.

  6. I don’t understand the Gruden lovefest. Yes, he won a Super Bowl — with another man’s team. In the ensuing year, the Bucs varied somewhere between “kinda good” and “kinda awful.” Yet fans cry for this guy to come coach their team like he’s the second coming of Lombardi.

    Hello — this guy was deemed too mediocre to coach in TAMPA BAY. A franchise that historically has defined mediocrity.

    Gruden’s an OK coach I guess. But I don’t see him as an improvement over Reid. You may get some limited short-term dividends, simply by having a fresh approach in there. But long term, I don’t think you’ll have improved your team.

  7. Gruden won a SB with another coach’s team, then he didn’t win another playoff game over the next 6 years, culminating with this firing. Why would anyone want this guy?

    This shows that he’s a good coach but lousy at talent evaluation. The talent gradually degraded during his tenure. He would be a good hire in a pure coaching role with a strong and competant GM. You can’t give this guy control over the draft.

  8. bdawk,

    Except for Shanahan, Belichick, Gruden, Holmgren and Vermeil?

    All of those coaches won Superbowls in their second head coaching gig, except for Holmgren who went to the Superbowl in his second head coaching gig.

  9. bdawk20 says:
    Nov 19, 2012 9:18 AM
    The Eagles should not hire Gruden. Coaches rarely, if ever, have success at a 2nd stop.


    Chucky’s already coached for Tampa Bay and for Oakland. So he’s not a second stopper.

    And as far as not having success at your second stop… Might want to talk to Belichek about that one.

  10. Fact: No Super Bowl winning Head Coach has ever won with a different team.

    If he was smart he would go to the college game. If he goes to the playoffs year after year and doesn’t win in Philly, they’ll chase him out of there.

    If he goes to Tennessee and gets them back into SEC contention and wins a couple SEC Championships he’ll be a God in Knoxville for restoring their program.

    Hell, Alabama erected a statue of Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa and he’s not even done coaching there. They’ll never do that for him in the pros.

  11. The Eagles should not hire Gruden. Coaches rarely, if ever, have success at a 2nd stop.


    Yeah, that’s true. Just ask Bill Belicheck…or maybe Tom Coughlin…or Dick Vermeil…or Mike Holmgren…or Don Shula…or Mike Shanahan…or, wait for it…Jon Gruden…

  12. All this coach talk is BS

    Look what happened in Tampa they took a middle of the road college coach and he has turned his team right around.

    Expect to see less big names and more Rutgers type coaches in the NFL next season.

    This is a copycat business it worked once so others will try.

    Yes Philly fans are screaming for a big name but what they really need is someone to come in and get rid of the big headaches and start over it will take a few years but building is better then renting all the high priced talent that they have done in the past.

  13. I think Gruden would be an OK hire for the Eagles. He didn’t really look good his last few years in Oakland, and those really are just the facts. A lot of people on here seem to be liking him for the “name” value, which is fine. I would rather see the Eagles hire a HC who is not going to demand full control over player personel, since that’s the same thing that has gotten them where they are now!

    Hire a GM in the mold of a Bill Polian, and let them bring in a coach to work with them. It does not have to be a Gruden or Cower, but could be a Dirk Kotter or McCoy from Denver, who knows.

  14. Yes, Gruden took someone else’s team to the SB. But he took a team that Dungy couldn’t get there. He was the guy who made it happen. That’s why a team like the Eagles are a good team for him to go to. It’s a team already pretty stacked, and all he needs to do is coach it right. I’m a skins fan, so I don’t want this to happen. Because if he goes to Philly, they will be a serious contender.

  15. Holmgren didn’t win in his second stint, it was his first. Chucky started in Philly as OC with Ricky Watters. They were actually pretty good until he left for Oakland. It would probably be a good fit in that he doesn’t need a franchise QB to get it done. As far as it being Dungys team, well he could never get over the hump. Plus Gruden built up that Raider team he plowed in the SB.

  16. I think his little brother will be a head coach before he returns.
    I’m not sure what the difference in pay would be but he has some cushy jobs right now that probably pay him pretty good so why return to the grind of coaching?

  17. Gruden rebuilt a Raider team that was literally in ruins after both the Mike White and Joe Bugel did there.Gruden is a damn good coach despite what you amatuer Belichicks think.

  18. Philly could be perfect for Gruden. Its a prennial playoff team that he could run into the ground like he did in Tampa.

    Maybe he’ll trade from Tim Tebow so that we can have two of the least accomplished, most over-hyped guys in the league on one team. That way the media will be able to drool over them both at the same time!

  19. Jeff Lurie hired up and coming coordinator Ray Rhodes followed by up and coming position coach Andy Reid. So I am betting he steps down a little more an goes for an up and coming trainer or an intern somewhere.

  20. i live in Little Rock and we know that Gruden isn’t coming. John Daly who is from Arkansas and really close friends with Gruden was on a morning show a week ago and dropped a hint that he might take the Arkansas job, and now its on CBSSPORTS.COM. Hilarous. Besides, our AD Jeff Long has already said the next hire is someone who is currently a head coach.

  21. after seeing Gruden at the raider game yesterday and working the crowd as he walked the field, there is no doubt in my mind what job he wants. If he gets it is another question for Mark, and Reggie.

    I just know he needs to stick to coaching, and stay away from the draft.

  22. Please come to Hillbilly land in Charlotte and turn around the most boring fan experience in the NFL. They show up late from church and still won’t embrace a great young talent in Cam Newton! Please give these hicks a reason to make some noise at that stale, cement dump!

  23. Bdawk20,

    Gruden’s sb ring came at his 2nd stop. He was in oakland before tampa.

    As far as 2nd stops, ask shannahan and belichick how their 2nd chances turned out? 5 rings between these two guys

  24. bdawk20 says:
    Nov 19, 2012 9:18 AM
    The Eagles should not hire Gruden. Coaches rarely, if ever, have success at a 2nd stop


    Belicheck, Coughlin, Shula, Landry, Ditka, Shanahan, Vermeil, GRUDEN, Cowher, Dungy….
    I watch just a little football but I believe most of them are past “rarely, if ever”.

  25. grapes911 says:
    Nov 19, 2012 9:16 AM
    Gruden won a SB with another coach’s team, then he didn’t win another playoff game over the next 6 years, culminating with this firing. Why would anyone want this guy?

    everybody knows if gruden would have stayed with “his” super bowl team aka the raiders, they would have blown out the buc’s that year, even if dungy was still there. It’s just the raiders were still using chuckie’s playbook , and he coached the tampa bay d, on all those plays. At least Rich Gannon set a super bowl record with 5 td’s. (just 3 of them were to the wrong team.

  26. Although the thought of Gruden as Eagles Coach is alluring, I don’t want him as a coach. NFL needs to get out of hiring “re-treads” or old names being coach. I’d like for them to hire a guy like Moss from GB, Spags from NO, or perhaps Brian Kelly from ND. The majority of the team are 25 and under and they need a young sharp mind like Tomlin or Harbaugh to coach. Ditch the wide 9 and the WCO and implement a 4-6 defense along with a more convential balanced offense i.e. GIVE SHADY THE BALL!

  27. Gruden won a Super Bowl with “his” offense and “his” playbook. He changed the whole left side of the o-line. Added a running back and two receivers. He did not win with Dungy’s offensive team. Dungy couldn’t win with his own team. Thus, he was let go.
    The next 6 years Gruden coached the lowest spending team in the league. The owners made a hostile takeover of the Manchester United. They quit spending on the Bucs. Gruden was left to try and find old guys with something left in the tank.
    I’d take Gruden as my team’s coach any day of the week!
    To discount Gruden as not being one heck of a coach is to show that one does not truly know their football as well as they think they do.

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