He’s Back!!!

The Oakland Raiders were expected to be a playoff team and a division winner in 2017 after a successful 2016 season that saw Oakland get back to the playoffs for the first time in 15 seasons and if he didn’t get injured last year, Derek Carr is the league’s reigning MVP right now. They were one of the three biggest disappointments this season as they finished with a 6-10 record and in last place in the AFC West. After Jon Gruden was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Raiders have gone through their share of head coaches. Bill Callahan, Tom Cable, Art Shell (who came back and was fired after one season), Lane Kiffin, Hue Jackson (who I felt should’ve stayed after leading the Raiders to an 8-8 record, their best in years), Dennis Allen, Tony Sparano and Jack Del Rio who signed a four-year extension after the Raiders first playoff appearance in years and on Sunday, he announced that he was informed that he wouldn’t be back for the 2018 season. The team has filled their head coaching vacancy, Jon Gruden is back!

For years, we’ve read and heard the rumors about a few coaches turned analyst returning back to the sidelines to be signal callers. Bill Cowher resigned from the Steelers after the 2006 season and has been a studio analyst for CBS since 2007, Tony Dungy retired in 2008 after seven seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and he now works for NBC and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016 and then, you had Jon Gruden who was fired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has been an analyst for ESPN since 2009 calling Monday Night Football games in the booth. I always had a feeling he would return back to coaching and if it wasn’t back in the NFL, he’d make the perfect college coach because some of those kids need that toughness and he provides just that. He returns to a franchise that needed that spark from the sideline because that was something that Del Rio and all the other coaches I listed to come after Gruden didn’t provide. He’s the type of coach that when he talks, you listen and he has the respect of the entire locker room. In his first stint with the Raiders, he had a record of 40-28, leading them to their first division title in ten seasons in 2000 where they finished with a 12-4 record and they also reached the AFC Championship game where they fell short to the eventual champion Baltimore Ravens.

He’s expected to be announced on Tuesday in a press conference and he signed a ten-year, $100 million deal, the largest contract ever for a head coach. He takes on a team that struggled offensively after being one of the five best offensive teams from a statistical standpoint the year before in 2016, a quarterback with such a high ceiling in Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch will be back for another season and the defense, which has been one of the worst units in the past few seasons. You talk about the first domino falling with the head coaching vacancies, this is exactly that. A familiar face returns to the AFC West.