one legend retires,, another legend returns
Updated: Jan 12, 2018
An open letter to Bruce Arians,
Sup Cuz, heard you retired. Damn shame. I was really rooting for you to hoist the Lombardi as HC. For some, perhaps the perception is you didn’t accomplish the greatest feat of professional football, but boy are they wrong. To me, it would be hard to find too many guys more accomplished than you. From your days with the legendary, Bear Bryant, to the countless other football cultures you’ve influenced, and to the two Super Bowls with the Steelers, where you were the offensive coordinator for the 2008 team.
However, to me, your biggest influence on football has been the careers of legendary QBs in which you’ve groomed and polished. Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, and most recently reviving, Carson Palmer. Watching Palmer from 2014 to 2015 was no different than seeing a classic Mustang at a car show. To me, yes, Peyton is obviously the best. But I think working and molding Big Ben was your best work in the NFL.
I also wanted to tell you, don’t think I haven’t noticed what you did with Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert, although the record may say otherwise. You are one of the best to ever do it, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. I hope you enjoy retirement, and I hope retirement has been as good to you as you have been to football.
See Ya Cuz
The Return Of Chucky
John Gruden returns to the sidelines this fall, but what are we to expect? There seems to be a rift (motto of 2018 sports talk) between folks who think Gruden is a great hire and others who believe the coach is overrated. I personally think it is a great hire. Not only is there splash, but there is also substance.
Three things come to mind when I think of John Gruden: The Tuck Rule, the 2002 Buccaneers led by one of the greatest defenses of all time, and Gruden’s QB Camp on ESPN. Honorable mentions spiders and bananas. The tuck rule is arguably the most influential play of the last twenty years.
It launched a dynasty for one team and for the other it triggered a set of events that lead to a painful decade of football for folks of the Bay Area. Jon Gruden was traded to Tampa Bay where in his first season, he took the 2002 Bucs with led by All-Pros John Lynch, Ronde Barber, Derrick Brooks, Simeon Rice, and Warren Sapp to a Super Bowl where they impolitely whooped the Raiders (Gruden’s former team) 48-21. After the Raiders loss in the Super Bowl, the team saw 11 of the next 13 seasons result in losing seasons and also making arguably the worst number one overall pick in NFL history.
The Raiders’ roster constructed over the past three seasons was designed to win now, and it didn’t work out. Jon Gruden comes in with a heavy workload. He has an uber-talented QB who has terrible mechanics. He has a WR with spectacular talent but can’t catch. And he has a defense led by one of the most destructive players in NFL history but uninspiring talent around him.
If Jon Gruden gets this team to the promise land, he no doubt elevates himself to Elite status IMO, but he faces one hell of a challenge.