After years of speculation of whether or not Jon Gruden would return to the sideline, it finally happened.
On Tuesday, the Oakland Raiders announced Gruden as the team’s new head coach.
This will be Gruden’s second stint at the helm of the Raiders, as he coached the team from 1998-2001, before getting traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During Gruden’s four-years as the Oakland head coach, he went 38-26 and made it to the AFC Championship Game in 2000, where the team lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
Chucky, as former Raiders defensive lineman Grady Jackson nicknamed Gruden as he thought that he looked like the “Chucky” doll from the horror movie “Child’s Play,” is ready to get to work, and play in the Bay.
The last time Gruden coached for the Raiders was the infamous “Tuck Rule” game against the New England Patriots, something Gruden said on Tuesday that still ticks him off.
In his first season as the Buccaneers head coach, he led the Bucs to a Super Bowl, where he beat none other than his former team. After spending seven years in Tampa Bay, Gruden was fired. In May of 2009, Gruden was hired by ESPN to become a color analyst for their Monday Night Football broadcasts.
Year in and year out, there were constant rumors and speculations on if Gruden would leave the booth to return to the sideline. College programs and NFL teams alike were all wanting Gruden to be their head coach, but he never budged. He stayed in the booth until Tuesday.
Owner Mark Davis, who took over the ownership of the Raiders when his father, Al, passed away, is beyond thrilled, to say the least. At the press conference introducing Gruden, Davis said “Raider Nation, this is a big f-ing deal” and that this was the “biggest day of my life.”
Davis said he has wanted to pair up Gruden with general manager Reggie McKenzie ever since he took over ownership and now he finally has his wish. McKenzie and Gruden will work together on personnel decisions, which if all goes according to plan, could be a match made in football heaven.
Al Davis was the one who gave Gruden his first head coaching gig in 1998, after Gruden spent the previous three seasons as the Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator.
Gruden has already picked his offensive and defensive coordinators. Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach, Greg Olson was picked to be the offensive coordinator and former Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator was brought on in the same position. Gruden has stated that he will be the one calling the plays.
One player who is in a prime position to really excel under Gruden is quarterback Derek Carr. The 26-year old gun slinger is entering the prime of his career and Gruden thinks that he will be able to unlock the greatness in him by placing him in a system that demands a lot from him. When you have a good head coach and a franchise quarterback, the sky is the limit.
One play you can expect Gruden to call quite often is “Spider 2 Y-Banana,” a play Gruden thinks is the best play in football, which can be heard in his analytical work on Monday Night Football.
The 54-year old Gruden got a 10-year deal, worth $100 million to come back to a place he once called home. He said at the press conference he wanted to end his coaching career in Oakland, as he feels he has unfinished business to take care of.
All of the rumors and speculation are now a thing of the past. Gruden is finally back on the sidelines, coaching the game he so passionately loves, for a franchise that he also so passionately loves.
Raider Nation, get ready, as it is now time for Chucky to play in the Bay.