Raiders coach Jon Gruden was out of coaching for nine years. He apparently spent the time trying to set the clock on his VCR to keep it from flashing 12:00.
Gruden declared himself defiantly low-tech Wednesday, taking an apparent pride in his lack of interest in advances in analytics or player tracking data.
When asked about the league distributing more information to teams this year (a technology which could help teams learn things if they were so inclined), Gruden shook his fist at the sky and told the pesky kids to get off his lawn.
“Are you talking about the analytics, the GPS, all the modern technology? Man, I’m trying to throw the game back to 1998,” Gruden said. “You know, really as a broadcaster, I went around and observed every team, asked a lot of questions, took a look at the facilities, how they’re doing business, there’s a stack of analytic data or DAY-tuh, however you want to say that word, . . . (because after throwing it back to 1998, he needed to clarify that he as a football man wasn’t sure how to pronounce newfangled words).
“People don’t even know how to read it,” he continued. “It’s one thing to have the data — or DAY-tuh — it’s another thing to know how to read
the damn thing. So, I’m not going to rely on GPSs and all the modern technology. I will certainly have some people that are professional that can help me from that regard. But I still think doing things the old-fashioned way is a good way, and we’re going to try to lean the needle that way a little bit.”
If Gruden’s actually willing to ignore any bit of information, he’s simply being foolish. That would be no different than refusing to watch tape on a player because it’s on a tablet computer and not a 16-millimeter projector.
More likely, he’s going to delegate the book-learning and the ciphering to someone on his staff who’s a little younger and better able to mine it for clues.
Gruden has been successful, and smart coaches will view any data (or DAY-tuh) as another tool in the toolbox. But ignoring what can be learned from player tracking just because it’s not like what he had back in his day isn’t old school, it’s summer school.