Las Vegas Raiders Coach Jon Gruden has been an NFL head coach for 14 years.
He spent 7 years as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach from 2002-2008.
Gruden has been a Raiders head coach for the same amount of time though it is divided.
First, he coached the Oakland Raiders from 1998-2001.
Then, he returned to Oakland who now relocated to Las Vegas from 2018 through the present 2020 season.
Current owner Mark Davis gave Gruden a 10-year contract for 100 million dollars.
When evaluating his career with both teams, the question becomes:
Is Jon Gruden overrated as a head coach?
The answer is yes.
1. Excellent Training And Knowledge, But It Doesn’t Translate Into Drafting and Coaching
Gruden got his start in the NFL working for Mike Holmgren when he was with the 49ers.
He also worked along side Andy Reid.
There is no question he knows the game, but in a head coaching capacity, it doesn’t appear he applies it.
Many argue that he is not known for being involved with drafting high caliber players who have long-lasting NFL careers.
Good news for Raiders fans: They will get a bunch of draft picks in return.
Bad news: Jon Gruden will help decide who to draft with those picks.
— Chris (@cjkrier) September 1, 2018
He tends to flourish or fail in whatever situation he finds himself in.
And he trades well-known established players like Khalil Mack for draft picks who do not pan out.
The original sin for Jon Gruden's second tenure with the Raiders is trading away Khalil Mack because he didn't want to pay him or something. He will not live down that mistake as long as the team's pass rush remains as bad as it is. #raiders
— John Hornberg (@JHornberg) October 26, 2020
2. The Super Bowl He Won Was With Tony Dungy’s Team
Yes, he is a Super Bowl Champion in 2002 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the Raiders traded him.
The Bucs paid 2002 and 2003 1st-round draft picks, 2002 and 2004 second-round draft picks, and $8 million in cash to the #Raiders for Gruden.
This would never happen again
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) April 23, 2019
Arguably, that team was still the brainchild of his predecessor Tony Dungy.
It is not as though he built the team from the bottom up and watched them ascend and win.
Gruden provided an offensive spark but largely this team was still Dungy’s, and Gruden was at the right place at the right time when everything clicked for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He also had defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin as well.
The team he won the Super Bowl against was the Oakland Raiders.
One Raiders player even claimed that Gruden knew the plays that they were going to call in the game.
In 12 years as a head coach, Gruden has only had double-digit wins 4 times while making the playoffs 5 times.
He also has had double-digit losses 3 times.
3. His Temperament and Personality Are More Suited to TV.
Gruden is fiery and charismatic.
He is more brash than recent Super Bowl Champion coaches like Andy Reid and Bill Belichick.
He is known to clash with players with his coaching style.
Gruden is a student of the game, and all of those qualities were more evident when he was an ESPN announcer on Monday Night Football.
His study of film and analysis are top notch.
Gruden’s method of delivery to the average viewer who didn’t share his football knowledge is also very good.
Some argue he should have stayed at ESPN and not returned to coaching.
What would change this assessment?
If he could win the Super Bowl with the Las Vegas Raiders, he would no longer be viewed as overrated.
The Raiders are his team (as well as GM Mike Mayock‘s) so that would quell the naysayers about his coaching ability.
Gruden was handed what many consider an elite quarterback in Derek Carr whose abilities Gruden himself questioned in years past, but the Raiders still struggle at 7-6 and are on the fringe of the AFC playoff picture right now.
Gruden’s coaching legacy is unfinished so it remains to be seen what else he will accomplish.
Time will tell.