For seven years, Jon Gruden has been the (somewhat self-appointed) Saint Peter for NFL quarterbacks. Before you pass through the pearly gates and into the league, you must first impress Gruden at his annual series QB Camp.
Well Gruden is now claiming domain over the Hall of Fame’s gates as well. ESPN announced Thursday that Gruden hosted Brett Favre this week for a special QB Camp segment that will debut July 21, in time for Favre’s induction into the Hall.
No one inspires breathless cliches about toughness and mental fortitude more than Favre, and no one dispenses breathless cliches about toughness and mental fortitude like Gruden, so this should be fun. Just imagine Gruden asking Favre to break down the coverage on a touchdown, Favre responding that he didn’t really pay attention to what the defense was doing and just threw it up there, and Gruden saying “That’s the kind of gunslinger mentality that makes this game so darn great, man.”
The quote from Gruden in the ESPN press release offers a perfect preview.
“Brett Favre epitomizes what a Hall of Fame football player is,” said Gruden. “He has all the stats, but what I like most is that he made everyone around him better. He has an enthusiasm for the game and this charismatic vibe that brings the team together. He can still sling it and he still has a photographic memory when it comes to the playbook and the personnel he played against. The only thing that disappoints me is that there aren’t many players in the league like him anymore.”
According to the release, Gruden and Favre met in Gruden’s office in Tampa to discuss his “‘ironman streak’, arm strength and toughness, his reputation as a gunslinger, and what made him one of the most compelling figures in NFL history, especially when it came to playing on Monday Night Football.” Presumably they also talked about Wrangler jeans and the perfect amount of scruff, but we’ll see if that makes the cut.