Jon Gruden

For years, as Jon Gruden’s name popped up in coaching rumors, the former Super Bowl-winner doggedly insisted he was perfectly happy at ESPN. The annual dance long begged the question: What would it take for Gruden to leave broadcasting?

Well, we now have our answer. On Friday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Raiders will pay Gruden $100 million over 10 years to be their head coach. Not only will that make him the NFL’s highest-paid coach, it will also place him in line with the NFL’s highest-paid players.

The Raiders still have not officially announced Gruden as their new coach, though the hiring was first reported nearly a week ago and Gruden himself has acknowledged there is a “strong chance” he will end up in Oakland.

You could argue that no coach deserves a contract of the size Gruden is getting, but this deal seems especially outlandish given Gruden hasn’t coached since 2008 and went only 57-55 over seven seasons with the Bucs in his most recent gig. He seems to be coasting on his success with the Raiders in the early 2000s and his Super Bowl championship with Tampa a decade and a half ago. Even if Gruden is able to adapt to a league that has changed plenty since he last held a clipboard, there’s limited evidence that he can be the franchise-changer his contract suggests he will be.

Though the Raiders might eventually regret hiring Gruden at this price, ESPN will surely be sad to see him go. In nine years at the network, Gruden became a Monday Night Football staple and carved out a niche as a catchphrase-loving football guru. Not only will ESPN have to replace him in the broadcast booth (Peyton Manning? Tim Tebow? Ron Jaworski?), it will have to fill a void left by his “Quarterback Camp” schtick and various other segments.

It always seemed inevitable that Gruden would leave ESPN and return to coaching some time or another. It turned out all he needed to make it happen was $100 million.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • John Lee

    Ignorant, ignorant commentary by Alex Putterman by poo-pooing over Gruden’s contract. Listen, amateurs, Gruden’s contract will pay for itself: when Raiders start selling Personal Seat Licenses (PSLs), they will now charge double (no kidding) of what they could have demanded in the first place riding the wave of fan excitements; this will also bring out the Oakland fans in the last couple of years, smoothing over a bitter fan base that is now going to excited for this one last ride, coming to the stadium in tens of thousands. This will all happen before winning a single game.

    Alex Putterman and all the cynics should get their GED degree in economics 101 first before writing any English sentences….

  • PAI

    This may have contained the single dumbest tweet ever, at least in terms of whatever the hell that person is supposed to be. I for one know this story was incomplete without it…

  • souvien

    The national amnesia in regards to how crappy Chuckie’s total tenure was at Tampa Bay never ceases to amaze…

  • Jeff Dudash

    I’m more concerned about the impact this will have on Corona and Hooters.

  • JeffinOKC

    I agree with John Lee. I suggest the Raiders need to maintain interest in Oakland for the next two years, as well as provide a little extra sizzle for the first couple years in Las Vegas. The Gruden reputation will resonate with the casual fan at a level that will more than offset his alleged $10 million/year salary. I think when the real story comes out, it will be closer to 4 years for $40 million guaranteed and up to 10 years and $100 million.

    • Harry M.

      That “sizzle” won’t be there if the Raiders are mediocre. There’s too much time between now and when they’ll start playing in Vegas. They’re going to have to be in contention to matter.

  • crs44

    His winning percentage is 54.0%. So they are paying a guy $100 million that basically goes 9-7 on average. I’ve never understood the fawning over Gruden.

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