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Gruden locks in "exclusive extension" with ESPN

Nov 16, 2009, 1:00 PM EDT

In what has to be one of the more carefully crafted news releases I’ve ever read, Jon Gruden and ESPN have “agreed to an exclusive multi-year agreement with the company. Gruden has made a commitment to remain with ESPN.”

As our friend Mike Florio over at PFT discussed, this could mean just about anything, and for a coach that managed to get himself traded back in 2002, there’s no doubt Gruden was probably taking advantage of the leverage he has right now, with coaching vacancies sure to be opening up and ESPN finally happy with their three-man booth combination on Monday Night Football.

That said, Florio also reports that ESPN has been unwilling to talk specifics regarding the new deal, so whether or not there are escape clauses for certain “dream jobs” is for all of us to openly question and hypothesize about. 

Still, for the growing faction that hoped Gruden would replace their maligned NFL or college coach, this has to be a bit of a blow. Yet I have a hard time believing that any coach, especially one like Gruden and his agent Bob LaMonte, would have made an iron-clad agreement to keep him off the sidelines, unless that’s what he truly wanted to do.  

  1. sharkey - Nov 16, 2009 at 7:02 PM


  2. sharkey - Nov 16, 2009 at 7:57 PM

    After watching after game interviews, I saw a totally defeated coach, and totally defeated team. It permeated all through their voices and demeanor. It looked to me the pressure and heat has gotten to them. Not sure they have anything left this season. Hope they can pull it together for two more weeks.

  3. TLNDMA - Nov 16, 2009 at 9:07 PM

    As time goes by Swarbrick’s silence grows louder.

  4. StephenOfTroy - Nov 16, 2009 at 9:08 PM

    The Gruden extension is great news for pro football fans. He has done an excellent job so far, and his obvious enthusiasm for the sport perfectly complements his keen eye for the subtleties of the game. Dennis Miller (who I like as a comedian) was a disaster as an analyst.
    Does anyone have any evidence, admissible or otherwise (that’s for you, robertg), that Gruden was at ALL interested in coaching ND? I’m not being facetious; I’d genuinely like to know.
    Either way, it’s back to hoping Urban Meyer wants to take a bizarre backwards career move and come coach the team he turned down BEFORE he coached Florida to multiple titles with no end in sight.
    The person I feel for most in all this is Lou Holtz. His love for ND is so obvious, to this day. He did an exemplary job, in my view. He should have kept his job, and end his career a decade or so after Paterno finally bequeaths the Penn State job to his next of kin.

  5. Jan - Nov 16, 2009 at 11:34 PM

    Good news, now maybe people will stop suggesting Gruden for the ND job. Let’s support our team and coach through to the end of the season….there’s enough pressure from the media, tv “talking heads”, and ND detractors that enjoy seeing any publicity around uncertainty disrupt the recruiting progress.

  6. StephenOfTroy - Nov 16, 2009 at 11:49 PM

    Fire Weis. No matter who else you get. It’s overdue.
    Weis had his best year in his first season. He had Willingham’s players. Maybe he got something out of them that Willingham could not get.
    Now Weis is in his 5th year. All the players are his own recruits. And he’s not getting much out of them. Is it not possible that a new coach will better utilize the talent that Weis is wasting?
    Stop worrying that firing the coach will make Clausen and Tate leave. The prospect of going 6-6 again (at best!) is more likely to make Clausen and Tate leave than having a new coach. What, is the new coach not going to evaluate and utilize the existing talent? Will he play Clausen at defensive tackle?
    Fire Weis. The only thing worse than the uncertainty of the future is the certainty of mediocrity. And mediocrity would be acceptable if you had no talent. You’ve got above-average talent (well above, at certain skill positions). Yet you have below-average results and you play a below-average schedule. What’s the problem? The head coach. Don’t say “the defense.” Whose responsibility is the defense? The head coach. Who hired the defensive coordinator? The head coach. Who didn’t step in and tell the defensive coordinator to stop calling ineffective blitzes? You guessed it. The head coach.
    Or, just keep doing what you’re doing. It’s sure to delight the rest of us.

  7. mrrandolph - Nov 17, 2009 at 5:49 PM

    Here are some answers to your ? and some observations. These answers are from recall so they might be wrong.
    Gruden’s dad was an assisant coach at ND and he was born in South Bend. His wife is from Knoxville and last year he was rumored to be taking over the Tennessee job.
    I think Urban accepted the Florida job like a week before Ty was fired or before he was asked.
    Lou should have been coach until his eulogy. He is only 72 and if he lasts aslong as JoePa he still has 10 more years.
    And finally, Clausen & Tate will leave if they are going to leave regardless of who is coach.

  8. StephenOfTroy - Nov 17, 2009 at 9:55 PM

    mrrandolph: Thanks for the info on Gruden. It’s appreciated. And I agree with your assessments re: Holtz and whether Clausen and Tate will stay.
    By the way, re: JoePa: I don’t expect you to have watched the Rose Bowl last year (PennSt vs. USC), but if you did, did you happen to catch the part just after halftime, when the sideline reporter told us that JoePa didn’t leave his skybox during halftime, but sent the players this message: “Play Penn State football.” This was, apparently, the entirety of the head coach’s message to a team that was getting beat pretty bad in a major bowl game. Forgive my hubris, but, honestly, I could have come up with some better coaching than that! Where do I send my application for the PennSt job? :)

  9. mrrandolph - Nov 18, 2009 at 10:11 AM

    Stephenoftroy: I did miss that report but it doesn’t surprise me. I saw Bobby Bowden give an interview during the third quarter during the game (it appeared to be from the stands) of the FSU vs. VaTech Nat’l Championship Game in 2000.
    Just a ? and I know these Bowl games can’t be played up North. But is it fair that:
    USC & UCLA play the Rose Bowl in LA (Pasadena)against the cold weather Big 1 and little 10 teams.
    Miami plays the Orange Bowl in Miami
    LSU plays the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans

  10. StephenOfTroy - Nov 18, 2009 at 1:44 PM

    mrrandolph: Stop! I will not hear another word against Bobby Bowden! (Kidding.) No, but just yesterday I learned from a friend who owns a dairy farm that chocolate ice cream is to be avoided at all costs. Apparently, the flavor of chocolate is so strong that it masks whatever you put it in, so the ice cream makers put all their spoiled ice cream, waste products, et cetera into the chocolate ice cream so as to save money. As a chocolate ice cream lover, this devastated me, and I’m in no condition to hear that Bowden isn’t perfect.
    As to the certain-teams-play-bowl-games-in-domes-or-warm-weather thing, two points. One, UCLA doesn’t play bowl games, and certainly not in the Rose Bowl. They just play their regular season games in the Rose Bowl. We rent it to ’em on a partial-year basis; they have no right to it in January. :) Two, and seriously, I think both teams in the bowl game have ample time to prepare, and I also think it’s only fair to play the bowl game in a venue in which weather is not a factor. A game played in the driving rain or in a blizzard might be interesting to watch, but you’re not going to see a passing game. And running backs cannot make cuts in a soupy, muddy field. You’re going to get a game that will produce highlights for ESPN’s “football follies.” Funny, but not a great game.
    Think about it: the Patriots have a devastating home field advantage in the playoffs because they’re USED to playing in snow. A team like Indy comes in and cannot adjust on-the-fly to all the various differences. So you don’t really know who’s the purely better team; you just know which team plays better in snow or which team knows ahead of time which cleats to wear. And I think bowl games are about which team is better.
    You midwesterners have regular season games in November to prove how tough you are because you can handle cold or inclement weather. You get to thump your chests and feel good about your manliness. You have to take the bitter with the sweet.
    Regardless, both teams are playing the same game at the same time in the same conditions. So it’s by definition fair. The only issue could be if, for example, the wind always gusts UNTIL 5 pm. Then the team that loses the opening kickoff might have to face conditions that the other team does not. Or the sun is shining in your eyes as you field a punt in the first half, and only on one end of the stadium. But this is nit-picking.
    Plus, think of the fans who pay hundreds of dollars to go to a bowl game. It’s not fair to THEM to have icicles hanging off their noses as they watch!
    Good question though. What’s your take on it?

  11. StephenOfTroy - Nov 18, 2009 at 1:50 PM

    mrrandolph: Just occurred to me that you might also have been asking about a potential “hometown” advantage for the teams you mentioned. I have two words: Vince Young. (Texas vs. USC for the national title) There’s enough fans from both schools at a major bowl game that I don’t think the hometown advantage really matters. And you get a month to prepare and travel, so that’s not an issue or advantage, either. Besides, how often is Miami actually in the Orange Bowl, or LSU in the Sugar Bowl (those don’t automatically go to the conference winner)? I think it’s fair for those schools to play wherever they are qualified.
    Bottom line, I’m one of those people who thinks we need a playoff system. The only drawback is that it will eliminate a lot of speculative trash-talking from fans of teams like mine (“USC could’a beat so-and-so if we’d been in the title game, etc”).
    Your thoughts?

  12. Jane P. Luckless - Jan 28, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    I’m not from the state, newbie to these sports.

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