From the moment Jon Gruden accepted the job, critics lined up and questions his motives. Well, 100 million dollars pretty much solves any questions. Not to mention, the ability to lead a franchise back to prominence. Despite what anyone says, the NFL needs a strong Raiders team. Few franchises boast such a diverse and passionate fanbase. The Raiders are an international brand. In that case, their coach needs to be the right person to right the ship. Since the hiring, some media types offered up comparisons to Gruden’s long absence from coaching
First Stint: 1976-1982 (Eagles) 54-57
Next Stints: 1997-1999, 2001-2006 (Rams, Chiefs) 66-62
For a whole generation, many fans remember Vermeil as the color commentator for college football on ABC. Yet, Vermeil coached the Eagles to a spot in Super Bowl XV, where the Raiders demolished Philly, 27-10/ Due to his high-strung nature, Vermeil eventually left the sidelines. When the Rams offered him a job, he jumped at the offer.
The Gruden Parallel
Like Gruden, Vermeil’s brand of high-emotion coaching works, but can wear on him and the players. In addition, upon his return, Vermeil only made the playoffs twice in eight seasons. However, thanks to Mike Jones (yes, Mike Jones), the Rams hoisted a Lombardi trophy
The Gruden Difference
Mike Martz ran the entire offense, which was the backbone of that team. Gruden places his hand in every aspect of the football operations. From coaching to play calling to drafting, that lucrative contract demands that. Vermeil held the GM title, Martz orchestrated the gameplan.
First Stint: 1981-1992 (Washington) 124-60
Second Stint: 2004-2007 (Washington) 30-34
In the 80s and early 90s, Joe Gibbs exemplified coaching excellence. Leading Washington to three Super Bowls stands out as a legendary achievement; you would think Gibbs would settle into retirement. Twelve years after leaving DC, Gibbs returned to help the franchise that he brought to prominence.
The Gruden Parallel
Gibbs cut his teeth on offensive football. For two seasons, he served as the offensive coordinator for Chargers’ head coach Don Coryell. Gruden studied under Mike Holmgren. In addition, they believed in beating teams mercilessly with the run game.
Although Washington reached the playoffs twice in his four return years, Gibbs could have stayed home. Unlike Gruden, Gibbs did not have any unfinished business. Winning three Super Bowls in ten seasons requires no second act. Yet, Gibbs returned to add to his legend.
If anyone tells you they know how the second Gruden tenure will pan out, they are lying. Although Gruden does not share any personality trait of Gibbs or Vermeil, he does firmly believe in the eye of history. Winning multiple championships with the Raiders would solidify him as an all-time great coach. In all honesty, some view Vermeil as someone that fell into a lucky circumstance. The Raiders, fans, players, and Gruden himself so not want the next decade to elapse feeling the same way.