One of the biggest decisions Mark Davis has made since becoming the Oakland Raiders‘ owner was firing Jack Del Rio so he could hire Jon Gruden. Del Rio bled silver and black as he grew up a fan of the team. He is also the only coach to lead the team to a winning record since 2002. Since he was fired, Del Rio has been working for ESPN and he’s been quite opinionated about his former team.
One of the most controversial moves the former coach made when he was with the Raiders was letting offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave go and promoting Todd Downing. The Raiders went from having one of the best offenses in the NFL to a mediocre unit. The team went from 12-4 to 6-10, which led to Del Rio getting fired. A fan called him out of Twitter for his decision to fire Musgrave and Del Rio clapped back.
He’s clearly taking a dig at how the Raiders were very bad last season and have struggled at points during this season. It could also be read that Del Rio thinks that Raiders would be better off with him than Jon Gruden. Regardless, the former coach made some big mistakes that cost him his job, but he deserves a lot of credit for getting the team in a good place before Gruden got there.
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Jon Gruden Has Better Career Coaching Record With Raiders Than Del Rio
Jack Del Rio certainly has some ammo when talking about his coaching record with Oakland. In his three seasons, he went 25-23 for a winning percentage of .521. While that wouldn’t put him among the all-time greats, it’s significantly better than any coach the Raiders had since 2002. However, if we’re talking total career records with the Raiders, Jon Gruden is slightly better. In his six years with the team, Gruden is 48-44 for a winning percentage of .522.
In terms of total career winning percentages, Gruden is also better with .515 to Del Rio’s .497. It’s only by a small margin, but Gruden has the edge here.
It Wouldn’t Be Surprising if Del Rio Had Beef With Gruden
Del Rio should feel jaded by how everything played out for him. He finally turned the Raiders around and only had one setback season. He probably should’ve at least gotten one more season to turn things back around. His biggest obstacle was always going to be the fact that Jon Gruden was still out there and Mark Davis wasn’t shy about how he wanted him back.
“He was always very straightforward with the fact that he was in love with Jon, and if he had the chance, he was going to hire him,” Del Rio told SI’s Jenny Vrentas and Greg Bishop in September. “He said it every chance he got.”
Del Rio almost certainly would’ve been the Raiders’ coach in 2018 if Gruden hadn’t decided to leave the broadcast booth. The former coach knows that and it’s probably frustrating for him. It’s hard to know if Davis made the right decision yet. It’s going to take a few years to know for sure if Gruden was the better coach for the team than Del Rio.