Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden has resigned. Gruden informed the team he was stepping down Monday night just an hour after the New York Times published a story revealing a string of sexist, homophobic, and misogynistic emails he sent to Bruce Allen, the former Washington Football Team executive, in the previous decade.
Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders head coach
Gruden quit either during or after a meeting with Raiders owner Mark Davis Monday, ESPN first reported. His remaining on the job became untenable based on offensive and, to be frank, unacceptable language he used freely and often.
The New York Times reports Gruden referred to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as “a fa—ot,” and “a clueless anti football pus–” in reaction to the league’s push to minimize brain injuries. He also said that Goodell should not have pressured then-Rams coach Jeff Fisher into drafting “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, who the Rams made the first openly gay athlete to be drafted (preceding Carl Nassib, who became the first active gay player).
“I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” Gruden said in a statement. “I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”
Raiders Owner Mark Davis released his own brief and to-the-point statement, “I have accepted Jon Gruden’s resignation as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.”
Gruden was in the fourth year of a 10-year, $100 million contract with the Raiders. It is unclear what, if anything, the Raiders will be obligated to pay him if Gruden technically resigned and was not fired.
Gruden’s resignation is a stunning fall from grace for one of the league’s most recognizable, and up until recently, popular names. Along with coaching the Raiders twice and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gruden served as an analyst on Monday Night Football for years, one of the league’s marquee products. His career in the NFL is now almost certainly over.
Who will be the next Raiders head coach?
The Raiders announced late Monday that special teams coordinator and assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia is taking over on an interim basis. The 2021 season is his 20th year coaching in the NFL and his fourth with the Silver and Black. Additionally, this was Bisaccia’s 11th season under Gruden, as they spent seven years together in Tampa Bay (2002-2008).
Bisaccia, in a 2020 story on the Raiders’ website, was described by his players as “the realest” who demanded the best from the roster.
“Rich Bisaccia is one of my coaches — in my whole career, from Pop Warner till now — life coach, football coach, I haven’t been around anybody that’s better,” former Raiders safety Erik Harris said in the piece. “He’s been truly amazing. He makes you want to play harder on special teams; whether you’re a starter or you shouldn’t be out there. You don’t want to go out there and not be giving 100 percent because of who he is.”
How did Gruden get to the Raiders?
After working in the collegiate ranks, Gruden broke into the NFL in 1991 as a 49ers offensive assistant. Following a stint with the Packers, he became the Eagles’ offensive coordinator in 1995 and served in that capacity for three seasons.
In 1998, the Raiders hired Gruden as head coach — for the first time. Oakland, which had finished 4-12 the season before Gruden’s arrival, put up back-to-back 8-8 seasons once he joined the team. In Gruden’s third season at the helm, the Raiders went 12-4 and advanced to the AFC Championship Game. In 2001, Oakland went 10-6 and made the postseason again before losing to Tom Brady and the Patriots in the infamous “Tuck Rule Game.”
Gruden traded to the Buccaneers, then comes back to the Raiders
After the 2001 campaign, the Raiders traded Gruden to the Buccaneers for two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and $8 million. Tampa Bay subsequently handed Gruden a new five-year, $17.5 million contract. Gruden and the Bucs finished 12-4 in his first season in Tampa and improbably won the Super Bowl against Gruden’s former team, the Raiders.
That Super Bowl win would prove to be a high-water mark for Gruden in Tampa Bay. Although he posted three more winning seasons with the Buccaneers, he would never again advance past Wild Card Weekend. All told, Gruden posted a 57-55 record with Tampa Bay.
The Buccaneers fired Gruden following the conclusion of the 2008 season. Though he was repeatedly linked to NFL and NCAA coaching jobs following his firing, Gruden remained at ESPN through the 2017 campaign.
Gruden returned to the Raiders and the coaching ranks for the 2018 season.
After a 4-12 inaugural campaign, Gruden and the Raiders posted a 7-9 record in 2019. The franchise moved to Las Vegas for the 2020 season, and the Raiders again showed marginal improvement with an 8-8 finish.
Gruden has posted a career 117-111 record as an NFL head coach. He made the postseason five times, including the 2002 season, which ended with the Buccaneers hoisting the Lombardi trophy.