Born on the August 17th, 1963 in Sandusky, Ohio, Jon Gruden would grow up to become one of the most well-respected head coaches in NFL history.
Becoming involved in football was no coincidence for Jon Gruden. His father Jim worked for the Tampa Buccaneers as a professional football regional scout, running backs coach, and director of player personnel.
On a side note, Jon wasn’t the only child involved in football. His brother Jay Gruden spent three years as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator from 2011 to 2013 and most recently the head coach of Washington Redskins from 2014 till the present time.
At age fifteen, Jon attended Clay High School near the home of the University of Notre Dame. His father also worked there as an assistant coach to head coach Dan Devine.
In 1982, Jon attended the University of Dayton, transferring after one year at Muskingum College, New Concord, Ohio. Jon was a three-year letterman and backup quarterback for the Flyers under coach Mike Kelly.
Flash forward to 1985, Jon graduated with a degree in communications with his journey to becoming an NFL head coach just getting started. Between 1985 and 1986 he was a graduate assistant coach at the University of Tennessee.
Gruden would spend the next five years working in various job roles around college football including quarterback coach at Southeast Missouri State. Then in 1990, he would get his first job in the NFL.
Working under quarterbacks coach Mike Holmgren as a special assistant, his first job was with the Raiders’ rivals the San Francisco 49ers. In 1992, Gruden would follow his former colleague to the Green Bay Packers. Holmgren was given the head coaching job with Jon as a wide receiver coach/special offensive assistant.
Gruden left Green Bay in 1994 and a year later he arrived in Philadelphia as the Eagles’ new offensive coordinator, working under former Packers assistant Ray Rhodes.
Now to Chucky’s first stint!
The late great Al Davis would hire Gruden in 1998 as head coach, at the young age of 34. Posting back to back 8-8 seasons, the Oakland Raiders reached the playoffs in each season Gruden was in charge.
But in 2001 after a difference of opinion on playing style amongst other reasons, Gruden was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for four picks (02/03 first round picks & 02/04 second round picks) and $8 million in cash would swap hands in the trade. Gruden signed a 5-year $17.5 million deal in 2001 and would win Super Bowl XXXVII in 2002 versus his former employer, the Oakland Raiders.
After six-years in Tampa, he was fired on January 6th, 2009. Gruden would then consume roles for big sports network ESPN in 2010. Among these roles were covering Monday Night Football as an analyst and the draft, respectively.
Jon Gruden’s QB camp 2012
No stranger to the quarterback position, Gruden would start up a new initiative in coaching and sit-downs with draft prospects such as Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and then soon-to-be Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. This is where his famous Spider 2 Y-banana play-action pass quote emanates from.
ESPN made Gruden the highest-paid personality on their network in 2014, with an extension running through 2021 season. Spending the next three years on their network, Gruden was itching to get back into a head coaching role in the NFL.
Then this past January, the return of Chucky was confirmed by Mark Davis after Jack Del Rio was fired after a 6-10 season. Davis finally got his man after years of courting Gruden. A mega-money 10-year $100 million deal and the opportunity to return to the Silver and Black to finish some unfinished business was too much for Jon to turn down.
Yes, it does include a no-trade clause!
With the impending move to Las Vegas, the Raiders are going all out to bring home a Super Bowl to the Bay Area. With Gruden in charge, the optimism and direction of the franchise will surely soar back in the right direction. Let’s hope for an exciting and successful off-season.