Happy Thanksgiving, RTTers.
Rocky Top Talk master Will Shelton wrote a great post regarding why he wants Gruden and why it's good for Tennessee and the fans.
The more I think about it, the more I don't want him. And I've seen few posts or well thought our reasons on Tennessee boards why we SHOULDN'T want him -- this bothers me. A mob mentality always scares me nowadays. So I wanted to give it a shot to lay out my reasons why I think Jon Gruden should not be our man. Here follows some thoughts:
- He Who Shall Not Be Named Last time we hired an "OMG NFL guy, who will do wonders for recruiting, bring energy and swagger, etc" well, we now curse in USC's general direction
- Ego Speaking of, Gruden's ego has got to be bigger than the sun by now. That works out well how many times? (see: Above)
- We are hurt and need a pint of ice cream The fan base is reacting like someone who is finally done with a 5 year divorce and wants a hot rebound. Since when has instant gratification been a good thing for the long term?
- QB guru? The list of Oakland Raiders Death Machine (1998-2001) and the Tampa Bay All-Stars (2002-08). Summary: Rich Gannon (four time Pro Bowler, two time MVP) and... that's it, that's the list
- QB guru? Part 2 "But he has an annual show before the NFL draft with top prospects about how good a QB coach he is!" you say. That's nice but how can we know if he's a good QB evaluator and coach if he praises all of them? And what about context: how do we know he's good or bad without context versus other QB coaches?
- Winning percentage Oakland (38-26, .594 winning %) ok, that's pretty good. Tampa Bay (57-55, .509 %) eek barely a .500 coach. Take away the Actually It Was Tony Dungy's Super Bowl Team (2002) and you have (45-51, .469 %), oh man that's no good.
- Playoff performance Of his 11 years as a head coach in the NFL, he reached the post season four times. Not bad, but for a coach who is a "home run hire" that's not impressive. Other than Actually It Was Tony Dungy's Super Bowl Team (2002), Gruden was 0-2 in playoff games in six seasons at Tampa Bay. That means only two post season appearances, boys and girls.
- The Brinks Truck The Tennessean is reporting that UT is going to spend $20 million in buyouts. I'm sure we have plenty of money when we fire him in three years
- A Lose-Lose Situation The previous point is the first part of the lose-lose (he tanks the first three years and we are back to square one). Say we win in the next two years (hooray!) but then the NFL calls saying "hey buddy, you still have it! Congrats! But we want you to come home". Yup, back to square one.
- NFL: An Easier Job And I mean easier in terms of amount of work, not amount of stress (obviously winning in the NFL is more prestigious and stressful). NFL doesn't have to deal with kids, the parents of kids, the handlers of kids, the NCAA, frustratingly small amount of practice (more on this soon), boosters, NCAA (again), etc. I'd leave too if it meant more prestige, more money, and less amount of work.
- EFF ANY OF THAT The ESPN booth is mighty comfortable and lucrative to contractually say THIS GUY! every 5 minutes and rarely displaying insightful analysis.
- The Best Coast Offense I can't find the source right now, but he would probably bring the West Coast offense, which, to be successful, requires a lot of practice and a lot of repetition. So, working with 18-22 year-olds for 20 hours a week lead by a "QB guru" should be full proof!
- The college game isn't the NFL And he embodies the NFL. The college game is in constant evolution and needs someone who is flexible and open minded. The NFL doesn't exactly scream that (save for a couple of coaches). Mix that with ego (see #2) and we could be stuck in tar. Hell, even Alabama is throwing the ball more.
- Pro Style Offense Does that invoke cold chills or lofty excitement in the college game?
I hope this becomes a lively discussion. Don't tell me I'm an idiot (trust me, I already know I am), but I just want to hear the other side and I'm tired of debating "No to Gruden" by myself at the mirror. I'm open minded! Convince me Gruden is the man. And if by some chance he does become our next coach, believe me I'm not going to sharpen the pitchforks or start a firegruden site--I'll support, I'll cheer. But most of all, I'll hope I'm wrong.