Nearly two hours after Jon Gruden‘s final game with ESPN for the season, the Oakland Raiders finally made the rumors reality.
After almost a week of coyness, Gruden has officially been announced as the Raiders newest head coach, with the team posting the news via a statement on their website. He’ll replace Jack Del Rio, who was fired following the final game of 2017 last Sunday.
Reports from NFL insiders have indicated that Gruden will receive the largest contract for a head coach in NFL history: 10 years, $100 million. His rumored staff would include current Los Angeles Rams QB coach Greg Olson as offensive coordinator (a position he held with the Raiders in 2013 and 2014), along with Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and Dallas Cowboys special teams coach Rich Bisaccia in the same positions. General manager Reggie McKenzie appears to be staying on in his current role.
Gruden served as the Raiders head coach from 1998 to 2001, leading the team to the playoffs twice during that time with a 38-26 record overall. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after conflicts with former Raiders owner Al Davis; he would lead the Bucs to a Super Bowl win over his former team in his first season.
The rest of his tenure in Tampa wasn’t as fruitful (just two more playoff appearances and a final record of 57-55), but the team was relatively competitive under his command. He was fired following the 2008 season after seven years.
Gruden grew in stature with football fans when he joined ESPN as their Monday Night Football color commentator, first with Mike Tirico and then with Sean McDonough. His seasonal “QB Camp” with incoming quarterback prospects for the NFL Draft was also popular.
It’s a bold move for Raiders owner Mark Davis. Gruden hasn’t coached in close to a decade, but he’s beloved by Raiders fans and would drum up excitement before the team moves to Las Vegas in a few years. Plus, it’s not like his father wouldn’t have done something similar. Only time will tell if this risk pans out.