Jon Gruden was a good NFL coach. He won a Super Bowl and went 9-7 or better in six of his final nine seasons. The only problem? He hasn’t coached since 2008.
Well, that could change. Gruden, 54, is reportedly close to becoming the Raiders’ next head coach and, potentially, receiving an ownership stake in the team.
Is he worth all that? Especially considering that he hasn’t coached in a decade?
“There is the football piece: can he come in and win? He’s been out for a while. Can he come back at the level that he was prior to leaving?” former Raiders executive and current CBS Sports NFL analyst Amy Trask said on Reiter Than You. “But there’s also a business component to this. The team will be in Oakland for at least one – perhaps two or three – years before abandoning that market, and bringing Jon back will go a long way to making the fans who are being abandoned very, very, very excited and keep the coming to the stadium.”
The Raiders, of course, will ultimately move to Las Vegas, and will have to sell luxury seats, club seats, and sponsorships, and tend to various business items. A high-profile coach like Gruden would go a long way in that effort.
“A coach as exciting as Jon is going to help them sell that product,” Trask said.
Gruden went 38-26 in four seasons with Oakland from 1998-2001, including 22-10 over his final two seasons. Still, not everyone in the organization loved him.
“There’s quite a few people in that organization who remain there from the time Jon was there before that don’t – or I should say didn’t – have good feelings about Jon,” Trask said. “I am not looking to start a ruckus about that. People are allowed to evolve and their feelings are allowed to change. And guess what? Even if their feelings didn’t change, if he’s going to be your coach, be a grow-up and do all you can to help him win.”
Owner Mark Davis, however, loves Gruden – and that’s all that matters.
“That is a very, very strong relationship,” Trask said. “The owner likes Jon very, very much and has been seeking him for a number of years – or I should say courting him or wooing him. It looks like it’s coming close to fruition.”