When the Las Vegas Raiders hired Jon Gruden in 2018, he was expected to be the team’s head coach for the next decade. What followed were three disappointing seasons that ended without a playoff berth. While 2021 got off to a good start, the second Gruden era with the silver and black has already come to an end.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the coach has met with team owner Mark Davis and informed him that he is resigning.
The decision came as Gruden found himself neck-deep in a controversy surrounding emails that he sent years ago before he was an employee of the team. The emails have been found to include racist, sexist and homophobic language. The initial report that came from The Wall Street Journal showed an email from Gruden in which he said that NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith “has lips the size of michellin tires.”
The email comments from 2011 came out as part of an investigation into the Washington Football Team’s workplace culture that was concluded in July 2021. “NFL executives have reviewed more than 650,000 emails,” according to The Wall Street Journal, and discovered “the existence of emails that raised issues beyond the scope of that investigation.” The NFL turned over Gruden’s emails to the Raiders, the outlet reported.
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Gruden’s Football Career Likely Over
It appeared Gruden might weather the initial storm as players such as Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs and Denzel Perryman came out in support of the coach. However, The New York Times dropped a follow-up report on Monday, October 11, that showed emails from Gruden that contained a large number of controversial statements. After those emails were revealed, it was clear that Gruden wasn’t going to come out of this unscathed.
Over the years, Gruden has become one of the most iconic characters in the NFL. From his trademark snarl to his unique way of speaking, he was a bonafide star. Now his career in football is likely over.
At 58 years old and following a questionable second stint with the Raiders, Gruden isn’t going to rehabilitate his image anytime soon. The team gave him everything he could’ve needed to succeed but he now leaves them with nothing to show in return.
What’s Next for the Raiders?
While this news is brutal for Gruden, it’s absolutely devastating for the Raiders this year. Davis gave the coach the keys to the castle and let him do whatever he wanted. Gruden got to pick all of his players and choose his general manager. The team is built in his image and that’s going to take time to fix.
With the team in need of an interim head coach, some believed the likely candidate was defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. He was a head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars for four years and already beloved by the Raiders players.
In a surprise move, however, the Raiders have named special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia as interim head coach to oversee the team for the rest of the season.
The Raiders do have talent and should be a very attractive job in the offseason for head coaching candidates. Gruden resigning now likely derails this season but the future is still bright for the team. At the end of the day, Gruden wasn’t getting the job done as a head coach for the team. The Raiders may end up being better off without him.