Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden isn’t one for sugarcoating his feelings or opinions. He doesn’t shy away from letting analysts or players know how he’s really feeling. This is exactly why it’s not the slightest bit surprising to hear Gruden confirm what many NFL fans already believed to be true.
The ghost of Tom Brady still haunts him to this day.
The infamous Tuck Rule Game in which Charles Woodson forced Brady to fumble, leading to the tuck rule coming into play, resulted in all hell breaking loose. If the fumble stood, the Raiders would have almost certainly won the game and moved one step closer to the Super Bowl. But once it was deemed incomplete, the New England Patriots went on to defeat the Raiders on a game-winning drive led by Brady. This was a topic which Gruden recently spoke about to Bleacher Report’s Dan Pompei, but the Patriots quarterback was his focus.
Gruden’s point was simple: Brady is the reason I’m back.
When Gruden wanted to make a point about mental toughness, he had Harrington put together a video on Tom Brady. “He can’t run, can’t jump, he’s too old,” Gruden says. “He gets his ass knocked off. But he’s a Terminator. He ran me out of Oakland in the Tuck Game. Damn. He brought those bastards back in a two-minute drill to beat us in a driving snow. They didn’t do anything the whole night until the game was on the line. And here I am 20 years later, and guess who’s still there. That’s why I’m back.”
As we know, that was Gruden’s final game of his first stretch with the Raiders. The coach was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ahead of the following season, where he won a Super Bowl the next year, defeating his former team in the process.
That was the end of Oakland’s run as a legitimate contender, as they went 13-straight seasons without making the playoffs, a brutal run which came to an end in 2016. Over that span, the Raiders never posted a record better than 8-8, leading to the Tuck Rule Game being deemed a legitimate curse.