Buying or Selling Jon Gruden's Potential Return to the NFL

John Rozum@Rozum27Correspondent INovember 8, 2012

Apr 28, 2011; New York, NY, USA; ESPN analyst Jon Gruden during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Jon Gruden reportedly wants to get back on the sidelines.

According to Charlie Campbell of via Gregg Rosenthal of

Rumors are starting to fly that ESPN's Jon Gruden wants back into coaching.'s Charlie Campbell reports that Gruden has been looking into assistants around the NFL to see about their potential availability after the season.

Also, per Howard Eskin of FOX 29 TV and WIP 94 Radio in Philadelphia:

Could Jon Gruden be the next Eagles head coach. Sources tell me he wants to coach again. IF the Eagles change the NFL assistants r weak,sooo

— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) November 8, 2012

Now, obviously whether Gruden does return to pro football remains to be seen.

Nevertheless, Gruden's success as a head coach is proven enough to garner some attention. After all, we see coaching changes occur year after year and a guy such as Gruden is a rare gem compared to the majority of what may become available.

To that end, let's play some iron-man football here—both sides of the line of scrimmage—and figure out whether we should buy or sell Gruden's potential NFL encore.


Gruden's overall success will always make him an appealing option for any team shopping for a new head coach. He never had a losing season with the Oakland Raiders in four years and went to two straight postseasons (2000, 2001).

And although he lasted only seven seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, winning a Super Bowl and making two more playoff appearances makes for one strong resume. After all, the guy has a winning record in the postseason and five division titles to his credit.

Additionally, Gruden is only 49 years old and his most recent season of coaching was 2008. In short, the game has not drastically changed since then and teams need a tough coach for immediate success.

Take Jim Harbaugh for example. Prior to Harbaugh joining the San Francisco 49ers, the Bay Area didn't get much from its football franchise. Now yes, Harbaugh was coming directly from a successful pro-style system at Stanford but the college-to-pro transition is never guaranteed.

As for Gruden, he already has that experience and the locker room would listen up without question.


This story seems to just get retold over and over again.

Back in 2009 Gruden was approached by Chip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks. According to Kevin Goe of The Oregonian:

Kelly told the Nashua (N.H.) Telegraph he offered Gruden the job after the former coach of the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers waxed enthusiastic about the Ducks' spread offense.

Then, according to later in 2009:

The University of Louisville has pegged Jon Gruden as its No. 1 candidate should the school decide to fire coach Steve Kragthorpe, sources told NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi.

Move ahead to 2010 and the University of Miami entered Gruden's realm. Per Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel:

According to multiple UM sources, former NFL coach Jon Gruden is high on the list and there's mutual interest. One source said Gruden wants the job and initiated contact with UM.

Now yes, all these are positions at the college level that never got past the speculation stage. Still, it's just proof that when something comes of age we can't get all worked up.

After all, there was some juice about Gruden toward the end of the 2011 season and last spring. According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune in December of 2011:

Sources said Gruden has decided to return to coaching in 2012 and that his current employer, ESPN, is already preparing for his departure.

And finally, back in August before the season kicked off per Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune via Gruden's interview with Bryant Gumble of HBO's "Real Sports":

"What's stopping you?'' Gumbel asked.

"I don't know,'' Gruden said. "I'm trying to figure out where I'm going. If the right opportunity presents itself, I will come back.''

That's one long timeline regarding Gruden and his number of potential returns to the sideline. As of right now, all has been for naught and it's hard to believe anything will change. Then again, coaching changes do occur quite often during an offseason and 2012 was no exception.

Here, it's simply whether or not anything ends up going through. However, since none of the above ever finished with Gruden wearing a headset, it's tough to imagine until we see it occur.

And the Final Decision...

Don't believe anything until it actually happens.

So in short, sell anything and everything that's floating around because we've seen this plenty of times before. Not to mention we're still in the middle portion of the 2012 NFL season, and a lot can unfold between now and January 1.

On too many occasions have down-and-out teams found a rhythm and the stars lined up to a T.

It happened for the Chargers over the Broncos in 2009, and vice versa last season. Factor in the NFC East race between the Giants and Cowboys, as well as the NFC North—Packers and Bears—during 2010 and there's no reason to presume anything regarding coaches.

Therefore, until Gruden is sitting at a press conference of [insert name of] team, let's focus on the 2012 season.

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