Unfortunately, it seems that we have hit, “Peak Politics,” which is simply a time that every single occurrence that happens in the United States must relate, in some way, back to the political left or right.
When it comes to the, “No Politics,” rule, there’s obviously a bit of leniency in Articles and the Comments section of same, but please keep all political opinions very close to the subject matter covered in this article. We really don’t want to have a general political discussion here.
In fact, the political aspect is going to be the first thing that I get out of the way, simply because this should not be a political thing. What we have with Jon Gruden is some E-Mails that came about in which he made a wide variety of racist, homophobic and other comments (as well as apparently sending some ‘Not Safe for Work,’ pictures) and Gruden would resign as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders accordingly.
We’ll discuss the legacy of Gruden’s second Las Vegas Raiders run after the politics section, but spoiler alert, Gruden’s second time around with the Silver & Black was nothing special.
THE INEVITABLE POLITICS
Obviously, you can’t have someone resign (one would like to think he’d have been fired, anyway) as a result of E-Mails such as Gruden’s without the whole thing becoming political.
The two big, “New York,” publications (The New York Times and The New York Post) have covered this pretty extensively, and both are digging in their heels on their respective sides. I’ve read five or six articles on this matter between the two publications---one was pretty good and the rest were hot garbage.
Anyway, let’s get into the subject matter of the E-Mails:
Okay, so the E-Mails have come out as a result of a workplace investigation being conducted by the NFL into the Washington Football Team franchise. That’s the team that should be called the Washington Redskins, but it’s much easier to compel the team itself (and the NFL) to drop what might be considered (by some) to be an inappropriate moniker (similar to the Cleveland Indians who will soon be the Cleveland Guardians) rather than, I don’t know...actually enacting policy that would be of actual benefit to Native Americans.
Anyway, the E-Mails that were, “Leaked,” were between former Las Vegas Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden and former General Manager of, “Football Team,” Bruce Allen.
If you want to get into the specific content of the E-Mails, then I’m going to have to request that you go ahead and Google that, as I am sure my republishing quotes from the E-Mails would almost definitely run afoul of our site’s policies on Hate Speech and Keep it PG/No Profanity...the E-Mails are honestly pretty bad.
The most interesting aspect of the E-Mails, however, is that they have been released and Gruden has resigned as a result. However, the NFL’s investigation reportedly included more than half a million E-Mails, so, where are the rest of them? Despite calls for the NFL to publicly release the full contents of the investigation, as of the time of this writing, we’ve only got the goods on Gruden.
My biggest problem with all of this is---how hard would it be to believe that there was some sort of a backroom handshake deal between Gruden and the NFL (Bruce Allen had already been terminated from the-then Redskins as the team performed dismally under his management) that Gruden would just go ahead and resign and the NFL could hope that would be enough to placate the public?
Writing for the New York Post, Ian O’Connor, in the only article from either the New York Post or New York Times that’s actually any good (in my opinion) had this to say, in part:
Now there are calls for Goodell to release all of the 650,000 emails uncovered in the probe of Washington’s workplace environment, and not just those leaked with the apparent purpose of destroying a career, Gruden’s, that deserved to be destroyed. Perhaps 650,000 is too big of an ask. Goodell should at least charge investigator Beth Wilkinson to release the emails relevant to the NFL’s finding that Washington’s culture was toxic, abusive, predatory, you name it for female employees.
That’s right, people. I tend to agree with this take as everything about Jon Gruden being a fall guy stinks to high Heaven.
I want to be very clear that I’m not saying that Gruden should not be fired for the comments that he made about a wide variety of people in the NFL...and that’s before you even get into the sharing of topless photos of then Washington Redskins cheerleaders, but it seems that these E-Mails were, “Leaked,” with the purpose of Gruden being the one to fall on his sword and the rest of the league could get back to business as usual.
How can anyone with even a shred of curiosity NOT wonder what else was being said in E-Mails between Bruce Allen and other NFL personalities, or better still, are there potential correspondences between Bruce Allen and Football Team owner, Dan Snyder, that would be of interest to the public?
And...Back to the Politics
Of course, “Cancel Culture,” “Woke Culture,” or whatever you want to call it, is being blamed for Gruden’s resignation by some folks on the right whilst others on the Left...well, let’s just say that some would have it that the Left would basically take credit for such a thing happening.
For example, we will turn to this article by Lindsay Crouse of the New York Times, which is a garbage article if I have ever read one. In it, she decides to try to coin a new term called, “OK Culture,” which she describes as:
But Gruden and these other powerful men aren’t victims of cancel culture. On the contrary, for their entire careers, they have been beneficiaries of a different phenomenon, which permeates not only the N.F.L. but also many other institutions dominated by straight white men. Let’s call it OK Culture.
OK Culture is what allows the kind of noxious discourse in Gruden’s emails to continue for years. Here’s how it works: Do you have a sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic or fat-shaming thought? Are you smart enough to know you shouldn’t say it in public but want to say it anyway? Are you a powerful and successful person? If so, just make your mean remark or crass joke to a select group who hold similar views or at least wouldn’t dare challenge yours. Don’t worry. It’s OK!
The one part that she gets right is that Gruden is NOT a victim of, “Cancel Culture,” but that’s only because Cancel Culture has nothing to do with any of this.
Neither does whatever the hell she purports, “OK Culture,” to be...which really just sounds like someone doing a serious reach to create a new buzzword du jour---not totally unexpected from a New York Times Columnist, to be sure.
The thing about Gruden and the columnist herself is this: They don’t live in the society that the rest of us do and, in fact, are so far removed from it that they don’t even understand the rules that most of society plays by.
For his part, Gruden went from being an NFL Coach to an ESPN personality (which is what he would have been doing during the time that these E-Mails covered, sorry, Disney) to being an NFL Coach again.
With that, Gruden definitely checks the boxes of, “Powerful and Successful,” but he and Bruce Allen having an E-Mail exchange that they did not expect would be read by others does not make a culture. Let’s take a look at the Webster’s Dictionary definition of, “Culture:”
- the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time
- : a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc.
- a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business)
I don’t see how the E-Mails between Gruden and Bruce Allen fit any of these definitions. I suppose that the closest definition would be #3, and given some of the things coming out about them, it’s possible that this concept of, “OK Culture,” might apply to the Washington Redskins specifically, maybe, but this whole thing is not indicative of any widespread, “OK Culture,” that is pervasive in our society.
Gruden, obviously, has a little bit of insulation between himself (at least, usually) and the reality in which the rest of us live and operate. I don’t know what the degree of separation is between Lindsay Crouse and our reality, but she’s got it well-enough that she can decide to train to be a marathon runner in the Olympics basically on a whim. She didn’t qualify, but her best time was better than I’m ever going to do in my life, that’s for sure!
Anyway, in the reality I live in...with only a few exceptions, if you make those kind of comments at work about people---you’re getting fired! That’s just what’s going to happen. If you go around sending topless photos...forget about the fact that the photos were candid...at all...you’re getting fired, which is as it should be.
Interestingly, I have lived in this reality even prior to my adult life in the workplace, so we’re talking about well over twenty years now, but Crouse would have me believe that these sorts of things are so pervasive that there’s actually an, “OK Culture,” out there.
Of course, we have defenders of Gruden, such as Matt Walsh, who has this to say on Twitter:
Nobody was a victim of Gruden's vulgar comments in his private emails. The people who received the emails didn't care. Nobody else knew about them. Nobody was hurt or even offended. Call it what it is: Gruden is getting canceled for thought crimes.
I guess the first thing that should be made clear to Mr. Walsh is the fact that the E-Mails are no longer private, so while you could make the argument that there were no victims when they were private, they’re no longer private, so any position having to do with the privacy of the E-Mails is immediately nullified.
Walsh also points out that the recipients of the E-Mails didn’t care. Oh, so Bruce Allen of the Washington Redskins...an NFL Franchise being investigated for being a toxic work environment and who has recently settled a sexual harassment matter with their cheerleaders...doesn’t care about the content of the E-Mails. Well, color me shocked.
When we get into his position that nobody else knew about them, much like the E-Mails being private, welcome to the world of past tense.
You see, how verb tenses work is this: Past tense refers to something that either happened, or in this case, was the case, but is the case no longer. As it stands now, everyone who follows the NFL to any extent (and many people who do not) now know about the E-Mails. As a result, that’s another position that self-nullifies.
Matt Walsh says that nobody was hurt or even offended. Well, I would think not. It’s really difficult to be offended by something that someone says when you don’t know about it. Again, past tense. Are they offended now? Did Walsh have the opportunity to speak to each of the subjects individually to ask them?
The best part, however, is, “Gruden is getting canceled for thought crimes.”
Let’s pick that garbage apart:
1.) Gruden is not getting, “Canceled.”
-Jon Gruden resigned as the Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. If Gruden were going to be, “Canceled,” at all, then it would first require that Gruden actually make some effort to keep his job.
-Of course, Gruden could have been, “Constructively Terminated,” which is a fancy legal term that simply means that he was given the choice to resign and save face, or be outright fired. There might be some issues vis-a-vis Gruden’s contract with the team if that happened, but more on that later.
-Either way, you’re talking about a guy who was loosely involved with the league (as an analyst at the time the E-Mails were sent) talking to a guy in the league about other people and situations (in the league) using language that is clearly---at a minimum---almost Universally not going to be considered fit for a workplace. That’s before you even get into the exchanging of candid topless photos (what was that about nobody being a victim, Walsh?) of women who, at the time, were employees of one of the teams in the league.
2.) It has nothing to do with, “Thought Crimes.”
Let me ask all of you readers a question: Are you reading this question, or are you thinking it? Second question, does this question exist only in your mind, or does it exist as written words, on your device, that I am mostly responsible for putting here?
That’s right! We’re not talking about, “Thought Crimes,” because Jon Gruden could think whatever he wants to, about anything. As Lindsay Crouse correctly pointed out, Gruden took those thoughts and he put them in writing.
---Some of you might be wondering what my problem is with the Crouse article, and my problem is this: Society only works this way in people’s minds. In Walsh’s mind, the whole thing is being punished for a thought crime. In Crouse’s mind, this whole thing is emblematic of some not-clearly-defined culture...but in the minds of us lesser peons, this is just the way that your typical workplace, you know, works. We can look at Crouse’s conclusion:
It’s time to stop litigating whether these punishments are fair and to start thinking more deeply about why the behavior they punish seemed OK in the first place. And if others who act like Gruden are scared, perhaps they should be. More important, they should change.
Okay, I want to imagine that, if I were to take an informal poll of 100 people...quote Gruden’s E-Mails...and ask, “Is this language appropriate for the workplace, if no, then raise your hand,” that 99 hands are going to go up and one person didn’t hear the question. She wants to take the context of E-Mails that two (or, not many more than two) people thought were, “OK,” and want to portray that as being a microcosm of an entire workplace culture that, generally, does not exist.
Of course, that’s the entire problem with the culture that we live in these days. As much as we hear words like, “Tolerance,” and, “Acceptance,” being bandied about, both sides want to paint pictures using only the broadest of brushes.
Simply put, most people aren’t going to put those kinds of images or language into an E-Mail sent to someone who works in the same industry they do (and, probably not at all) because most people do not think that doing something like that is, “OK.”
This is NOT Political
Let’s make this what this is about:
During a time that Jon Gruden was not directly employed by the Las Vegas Raiders, but still worked loosely within the NFL industry as an analyst for ESPN, he sent E-Mails to at least one other person---that were intended to be private---that contained the following:
- Derogatory comments related to homosexuality.
- Nude or partially nude photos of individuals employed by teams in the league. (Two of them candid topless photos)
- Derogatory comments that some have interpreted to be racial slurs, which Gruden denies having been meant as a racial slur.
- Derogatory comments related to the Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell himself, in which Jon Gruden used derogatory language and homosexual slurs to describe the Commissioner.
These E-Mails would eventually be, “Leaked,” and become public knowledge. So, you might ask, “Why is this not political?”
The answer is simple: Because that’s getting you fired (or likely forced to resign, at a minimum) at just about any workplace that I can think of.
The State of the NFL
Going back to Ian O’Connor’s article, what is of greater interest to me is what the NFL itself might be hiding. Again, I don’t consider this a political issue, but to me, this has, “Fall Guy,” written all over it.
O’Connor writes, in part:
Over his 15 years in office, Goodell has proven he has little interest in finding the absolute truth and sharing it with his loyal customer base. He seeks only the most convenient truth, a story that will get him by and get him back to making a spitload of money for Daniel Snyder (somehow still the WTF owner of the WFT), the 31 other owners, and, of course, himself.
Of course, O’Connor’s issue (that I agree with) is Goodell’s apparent position that a written report of the investigation into the Washington Redskins need not be released. O’Connor’s position (which I consider likely) is that Goodell is taking that position in order to protect Football Team’s owner, Dan Snyder.
Think about it: They do this major investigation of the team that culminates in what---the firing of a coach from a different team for actions taken while he was not the coach of that team that involves a General Manager (Bruce Allen) who had already been fired?
Man, that sure does seem convenient. Nice and neat.
The Washington Cheerleaders
Of course, we won’t be hearing much from the Washington cheerleaders involved in the Gruden E-Mails as they signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement (in fairness, that’s pretty standard) as part of the settlement of the sexual harassment lawsuit against the Washington team.
The one former Washington cheerleader who can talk, Melanie Coburn, suspects that it was Football Team’s owner, Dan Snyder, who leaked the E-Mails, in part:
"I believe Dan Snyder leaked these emails," Coburn told Fox News. "I believe he’s trying to put all the blame on Bruce Allen. He sent over a dozen private investigators to my colleagues’ homes across the country … to show up on cheerleaders' doorstops and ask them what their relationship with Bruce Allen was."
Obviously, Dan Snyder denies that he, or anyone affiliated with Football Team, was responsible for leaking the E-Mails.
Coburn also signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement, but hers was revoked as part of the NFL’s investigation into Football Team.
The only thing about her position that seems incongruous, at least to me, is that she is calling for the full investigation to be released whilst also bemoaning the fact that the other cheerleaders have to, “Relive the trauma,” (which is fair) of the E-Mails that have already been leaked. I’m not saying that there’s a right or wrong answer, but one would think that releasing the full details of the investigation would lead to more reliving of trauma, so I’m confused as to what she thinks should actually happen on this one.
Former NFL Player Ryan Russell, as a guest writer for the New York Times, had this to say, in part:
Too often, the burden of trying to fix the league’s shortcomings has been placed on the shoulders of players and players alone. In the conversation around the lack of openly L.G.B.T.Q. players, the question is always, “Are N.F.L. locker rooms ready for an L.G.B.T.Q. player?” It’s never, “What can N.F.L. officials do to make sure that players feel comfortable coming out?”
In the conversation around police brutality and systemic racism affecting Black people and people of color, the question was, “Will players kneeling during the national anthem hurt ticket sales or decrease views?” It wasn’t, “What can coaches and executives do to meaningfully support the causes their players care about?”
I have a much better idea, at least, in my opinion...how about, instead of using the NFL as a political proxy to discuss societal and political issues, everyone just goes out and tries to win football games?
It seems to me that true inclusivity would be that nobody really cares what sexuality a player in the NFL identifies as, and if anyone is found to use homophobic slurs towards them, then that person simply faces the same consequences that Jon Gruden did? The NFL is not the forum to be handling the political issues of the day, that’s what protests and political activist groups are for---the purpose of the NFL is to put the best possible football product on the field. Anything unrelated is nothing more than a distraction from that goal.
Here’s what I said in a previous article, in part, about politics in sports as relates Colin Kaepernick:
In my opinion, the workplace is not necessarily going to be the forum for a political protest. The employer is paying you to be there, so if they are requesting that you do not engage in conduct that they prefer you not engage in, then, as an employee, I don’t see what choice there is but to acquiesce that request regardless of the existence of a hard rule on the books.
It’s a pretty simple separation that most corporations call, “Work-Life Balance.”
How it works is that you go to work and do work things, then when you’re on your personal time, you do whatever it is that you want to do with your non-work time, which for some, is going to include political activism.
With that, why should coaches and/or executives do anything to support causes that are of concern to individual players---unless those coaches or executives would themselves want to support those causes in their free time, anyway?
As far as the first quoted question, my question is, “What makes the NFL field the appropriate venue for a political demonstration in the first place?” More bluntly, if I am interested in the political issues of the day, then I will look to the insight of professionals on political matters---sociologists, political scientists, political opinion columnists, etc...people whose actual job it is to engage in discourse about those things.
If I want to engage in such discourse myself, there are political message boards, Facebook, or other message boards where political discourse can be had.
I don’t think I speak only for myself when I say, “When I turn on an NFL game, my goal is to watch the highest quality football available in the entire world,” if my goal was to observe political demonstrations, then I would instead pull up Youtube and look for videos of political demonstrations.
That’s not to say that NFL players (or anyone) is not entitled to have a voice. In their free time, they can say or do whatever it is they want to say or do, within the bounds of legality (and anything in their contracts such as morality clauses, if applicable).
Naturally, I’m a writer and it is sometimes my job to write about things having to do with sports, which is why I am presenting this here. However, I have worked any number of, “Traditional Jobs,” and I can say that they have almost never been seen as the venue for political discourse, so what should make playing in the NFL any different?
Could you imagine if you went to the check-out line at Target and instead of asking, “Did you find everything you were looking for?”, the cashier instead started regaling you with the ballot positions he/she planned to vote in favor of and why?
The NFL is a league that hopes to exist in perpetuity and remain a staple of American culture, but in order to do so, they have to continue to attract younger viewers. It is with that Phil Mushnick of the New York Post writes this rag, which says, in part:
Those emails, puffed the NFL, are “wholly contrary to the NFL’s values.”
And that’s where the NFL, in the wildly capricious hands of Roger Goodell, should have inserted a long, loud laugh track. The NFL’s “values?”
I guess so far, so good, as I earlier suggested that the NFL should make the full results of the investigation known, so hopefully, that is the angle that Mushnick is taking here.
Unfortunately not. His contention seems to be that the NFL simply doesn’t have any values, and to highlight this, Mushnick states the following, among other things:
Given the NFL’s values, Goodell should explain why he has allowed the Super Bowl to become a festival for rappers who promote the most negative, crude and degrading stereotypes of black Americans?
Why did he allow Jennifer Lopez to become a bump-and-grind pole dancer to the NFL’s largest audience? NFL values?
You can click and read the rest for yourself, but the next several paragraphs after that section go on to list some of the Super Bowl performances of years past, including one to come and asks whether or not those are representative of the NFL’s values.
He almost comes close to making a point, except this isn’t the 1940’s where the only music that should be played publicly is Gospel and women are supposed to be covered from head to toe. I think that the most interesting segment in his piece that refers to, his words, “Bottom-feeding rappers,” is all of the individuals he chooses to directly highlight as examples.
Or, more to the point, the individuals that he did not highlight as examples. For instance, Lady Gaga (who thrives on controversy-but also being a damn great performer) was not mentioned, nor was Eminem, who was recently announced for the upcoming Super Bowl.
Eminem will be performing at the Super Bowl with Snoop Dogg, who did get an individual mention in the article.
Hmmm...now what do Eminem and Lady Gaga have in common that every single individual Mushnick listed in the article does not have in common with them?
Look, here’s the deal: The NFL needs to continue to attract young viewers to the football product and the Super Bowl is the one event of the year that draws more than the eyes of just diehards and casual fans to the screen. Simply put, the Halftime performance exists to draw eyes to the screen that would normally not be watching football in order to hopefully turn those people into actual football fans---so you play the music that’s going to appeal to the youth and feature performers of the more popular genres. It’s really as simple as that.
AND...FINALLY TO GRUDEN
I’ll tell you what I haven’t heard much about since Gruden’s resignation---the actual implications that such a thing might have on the Las Vegas Raiders.
What will Jon Gruden’s legacy in this second run be in terms of the football product, let’s tackle that here.
Jon Gruden was hired in January of 2018 to the then Oakland Raiders and given a contract of ten years and 100 million dollars, though it’s been reported that said contract might be backloaded, which we will discuss in the final section of this article. Jon Gruden would go on to be the Head Coach of the Raiders for the full 2018-2020 NFL Seasons, as well as the first five games of the 2021 NFL Season.
A week prior to the official hiring of Gruden (it was reported that it was all but a done deal), Jack Del Rio was unceremoniously fired within minutes (literally) of the final game of the Oakland Raiders’ 2017 NFL Season, which was the last of a four game skid to end the season.
Let’s go ahead and compare Del Rio’s time with the team to Gruden’s second stint:
Jack Del Rio:
2015 Record: 7-9
2016 Record: 12-4 (Lost in the WildCard to the Houston Texans)
2017 Record: 6-10
Final Record: 25-23
While that record is nothing outstanding, let’s compare it to Gruden’s first three years with the team:
2018 Record: 4-12
*They would open the season with a three-loss stretch, thereby extending the team’s losing streak to seven games before finally defeating the Cleveland Browns. Not exactly a momentum shift, the Raiders would go on to lose their next five games in a row.
2019 Record: 7-9
2020 Record: 8-8
With that, we will go ahead and throw Gruden his partial record of 3-2 before he resigned this season, which brings Gruden to:
Final Record: 22-31
In some ways, it might have been a relief for Gruden to resign. Can you imagine signing the biggest contract (by total value) and the third-largest active contract (by implied annual value) and leading your team to a record of 19-29 over three seasons with zero playoff appearances?
Keep in mind, this wasn’t a hapless Oakland Raiders team leading into the 2018 Season by any stretch of the imagination. Just two seasons prior, not only did they go 12-4 and make the playoffs, but their only regular season losses in the 2016 campaign would come to the Kansas City Chiefs (twice---The Chiefs would go 12-4 and win the division), the Atlanta Falcons (who made it to the Super Bowl that season) and a disappointing Week 17 loss to the Denver Broncos that cost the Raiders the AFC West crown.
In fairness, they had a particularly soft schedule that season, so none of their wins were truly remarkable.
In terms of compensation per win, it’s just silly when you compare Jon Gruden to a few of the known NFL Coach salaries for 2019:
Let’s go ahead and extrapolate some of these for the coaches that we can. For this, we are going to assume that the yearly compensation remains the same for all coaches and look at the average compensation, on a per win basis, from 2018-2020 NFL Seasons for all listed coaches who coached all three years.
The formula is simple:
(Annual Salary * 3)/(Total Wins)---Round to Nearest Dollar
John Gruden: (30,000,000)/19 = $1,578,947
Bill Belichick: (37,500,000)/30 = $1,250,000 (Two Playoff Appearances, One Super Bowl)
Pete Carroll: (33,000,000)/33 = $1,000,000 (Three Playoff Appearances)
Sean Payton: (37,000,000)/38 = $973,684 (Three Playoff Appearances)
Andy Reid: (22,500,000)/38 = $592,105 (Three Playoff Appearances, Two SB Appearances, One Super Bowl)
John Harbaugh: (21,000,000)/35 = $600,000 (Three Playoff Appearances)
Mike Tomlin: (21,000,000)/29 = $724,138 (One Playoff Appearance)
Ron Rivera: FIRED in 2019 Season, does not qualify.
Jason Garrett: FIRED after 2019 Season, does not qualify.
Matt LaFleur: HIRED in 2019, does not qualify.
Bill O’Brien: FIRED in 2020, but had more wins than Gruden just combining 2018 + 2019 and was paid less.
Mike Zimmer: (15,000,000)/25 = $600,000 (One Playoff Appearance)
Dan Quinn: FIRED during 2020 Season
Jay Gruden: FIRED during 2019 Season
As we can see, Jon Gruden succeeded at one thing in his second stint as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, and that one thing was being wildly overcompensated, at least, by implied compensation.
In addition to being paid the most per regular season win, by a country mile, Jon Gruden was the only coach listed to have coached during all three of these seasons (in full) to fail to make the playoffs during any of the three campaigns.
Perhaps Gruden was hired for what he was expected to do and simply fell short of the expectations that Raiders owner, Mark Davis, had for him based on his prior history. If anything is clear, it’s that Gruden fell short of the expectations Davis had for Jack Del Rio!
Let’s take a look at Gruden’s Coaching Career prior to his near-decade hiatus:
Oakland Raiders (1998-2001): 38-26, (Two Playoff Appearances, No Super Bowl Apps.)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (2002-2008) 57-55 (Super Bowl win in Gruden’s first year and two other Playoff appearances)
In his final season with the Buccaneers, Gruden’s team would go 9-7 for the second consecutive season (missing the playoffs that time, unlike the 2007 campaign) that would lead to the dismissal of both he and General Manager Bruce Allen---history repeats, sort of.
Speaking of people who would get fired after 9-7 seasons, Gruden actually replaced Tony Dungy as Head Coach of the Buccaneers, with the latter being fired after a 2001 9-7 campaign that culminated in getting walloped by the Eagles, 31-9, in the Wildcard round.
Don’t worry, Tony Dungy did fine. He would go on to coach a young man named Peyton Manning, win himself a Super Bowl, his second coach of the year title and secure himself a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Meantime, Gruden also did fine, with Dungy’s team. After that, kind of a mixed bag. If you take that first season coaching the Buccaneers out of the equation, Jon Gruden would have himself a losing record for his career.
In short, I can’t see anything about Gruden’s coaching career that would justify the biggest (total sum) contract in the league at the time he was signed, or the third-highest implied annual compensation as Head Coach---but those things aren’t for me to decide. Overall, I would suggest that Gruden’s record (before being fired from the Buccaneers) is that of a very average NFL Coach.
Pro Football Database, for example, has a list of 2021 NFL Head Coaches that can be organized by winning percentage in their careers, and Gruden ranks 20th there. Even taking out of account his most recent stint with the Raiders would only pull him up to 18th.
The way that I see this is as something that doesn’t have any broader or societal implications at all whatsoever, but society is basically structured such that everything has to be a much bigger and more dramatic ordeal than it actually is.
The only thing that would be dramatic and the only bigger question on my mind is, what else did the investigation turn up and what might it be, if anything, that the NFL is hiding?
That’s what I would be interested in knowing.
Everything else about this is one individual saying inappropriate things to another individual, via E-Mail, that he likely would not have said openly and resigning when the E-Mails came to public light.
In the case of Gruden and whether he would have been fired had he not resigned, all I can say is that I would like to think so.
While Gruden was not employed by the Raiders at the time, he still worked (in an indirect way) with the NFL as an ESPN analyst. Even ignoring the language and terms used, Gruden engaged in a wide variety of insults against many individuals in the NFL, which included the Commissioner of the league. More than that, he exchanged illicit pictures of employees of a team in the league that were reportedly taken without their consent and candidly.
I do not see this as a major political ordeal; I see it as conduct that I would think would get a person fired almost anywhere.