Positively Gruden: Welcome to Sam Bradford’s World of Magic

Welcome to another rendition of “Positively Gruden,” where we chronicle the top praise, plaudits and pontifications from America’s favorite fawning former coach. Since tonight’s Vikings-Saints contest was the first meaningful NFL game in the TFG 2.0 era, let’s take a moment to review what makes this column tick. As we’re all aware, Jon Gruden provides viewer with a Molotov cocktail of boundless energy, kitschy schtick, and effervescent praise that he heaps on coaches and players. A Grudenism can come in many shapes and sizes, and my criteria (of which I’m the sole arbiter) applies a sliding scale of (a) vivid imagery, (b) hyperbole, and (c) outright absurdity. But at its core, a Grudensim is an undeserved superlative about a coach of player. And when it’s just right, these superlatives are laced with creative imagery and/or a lyrical quality that resembles some of the finest modern poetry. That may be over the top, by hey, they say imitation is the finest form of flattery.

Meanwhile, in the late game, you had the anti-Gruden, Rex (Ambien) Ryan, who put on the sleepiest performance since Tiger Woods after a late night trip to Perkins. I used to think that Sean McDonough was monotone, but he seems like Lewis Black compared to Ryan. Beth Mowins, on the other hand, brought energy and knowledge to her groundbreaking performance. It’s too bad we can’t pair her with Gruden instead of McDonough. Seriously Sean, modulate your voice! There’s a game going on!

But let’s get back to the Grudensisms. Tonight’s stash aren’t going to fill up a highlight reel, but they ended with a Sam Bradford crescendo that resembles the 1812 Overture during a Fourth of July fireworks display. Sometimes, the whole of the Grudenisms are greater than the sum of their parts.

If you’re a young coach go to New Orleans and watch these people practice. You’re in for a great game tonight. One of the best offensive coaches, Sean Payton, and one of the best defensive coaches, Mike Zimmer.”

Nobody throws to the backs more than the New Orleans Saints.”

On the Saints offense, “They have routes in their set for [Alvin] Kamara I’ve never seen a running back run.”

On Vikings DE Brian Robison, “He’s their number one communicator on defense, and he’s a defensive lineman. I have not seen that.”

On the Vikings receivers, “This is a no name receiving corps, but man are they getting things done.”

On the Saints defense, “you can go out in free agency and add talent and add speed…. ….but they went out and added LEADERSHIP and TOUGHNESS and COMMUNICATION.” (Judging from that game, they should have gone with talent and speed.)

On Drew Brees, asking rhetorical questions . . .

Who works the pocket at six foot like Drew Brees? That’s an amazing task.”

Who throws the seam ball better than Drew Brees? Nobody.”

And closing, with a Sam Bradford crescendo . . .

Bradford is 19 for 23 tonight, and three of them have been drops. That’s how good he’s been.

When he gets protection, he can be as accurate as anyone I have studied.”

How about this throw under fire. Holy smokes! That’s as good as it gets.”

I love the emotion of Sam Bradford. That’s something I have not seen.”

“You can’t play quarterback any better than he played on that drive.”

He’s done it with audibles, great throws, and he’s led the Vikings. I really like what I’ve seen from him.”

Then the toughness. Standing in there, making that kind of throw. That’s unbelievable.”

This might be the best throw you’ll ever see.”