2012 Positively Gruden, Preseason Week 1: Oakland Homecoming

Man, it’s so good to have him back.  After nearly eight month of suffering through EGW (Extreme Gruden Withdrawal), America’s favorite fawning former coach returned with a bang on ESPN’s marquee Cowboys-Raiders preseason MNF matchup (Note: I know there was also a Thursday ESPN game, but I don’t acknowledge any Gruden broadcast that doesn’t actually occur on Monday night).

And what a return it was!  Though Gruden apparently won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay, you know that his heart will always be in Oakland.  And so once the scrubs entered the game, we were treated to soliloquies about Al Davis, Jim Plunkett, Willie Gault and a bunch of other really fast dudes, Spike and the “black hole,” and a host other apparent “legends” whom Gruden holds so dear.  Thank Tebow that there was this natural filler because this game sucked with a capital “UCKED”!  There was one field goal, that’s it.  Even the triumphant return of Terrelle Pryor turned into a disappointment because while Pryor may look like Cam Newton and run like Cam Newton, this guy is definitely NOT Cam Newton.  

Without further ado, here’s my Top 10 (ok, 11 because it’s our season premiere) Grudenisms from the night.  As always, Grudenisms are graded on multiple factors, including: (a) degree of hyperbole; (b) use of vivid imagery; and (c) outright absurdity.

11. “You know the Raiders have always have had speed.  You’re throwing around 4.37 and 4.39s like it’s nothing.  I was here with James Jett, man, a silver medalist winner.  Look at this kid run.  THAT was fast.  I was here with Willie Gault.  Al Davis would show me these cutups, and that was REAL FAST, Tirico.  And then we had THIS KID Bo Jackson out of Auburn, and when he got the corner, he was GONE.”

10. On the new Raiders GM, “There’s silver and black blood in Reggie McKenzie’s body.”

9.  Still high on speed, “I used to stand on the field and players would run by real fast. [Davis would] grab me and say, ‘did you feel that.’  I’d say, ‘yeah, I felt that man.’  We had a lot of speed.  The coach’s job was to take that speed and use it.  I failed miserably, but boy, when it hit it was awesome! We had a lot of speed. ”

8.  “Rob Ryan has to be very pleased with his defense. A shutout on the road, I don’t care if you’re playing TIDDLYWINKS that’s a great start for this Cowboys defense from a confidence standpoint.”

7.  On the new Raiders coach, “another thing I like about Dennis Allen is he’s embraced this Raider tradition. You just come to a game and say, ‘hey that’s Jim Otto, I just got knocked down by George Atkinson. There’s Willie Brown. These are hall-of-fame all-time greats, and when you’re the head coach of this football team, there’s Jim Plunkett, you learn to love these great players that still come around watch these Raiders play.”

6.  On Terrelle Pryor, “I saw this kid in the Rose Bowl live, he looked like Julius Peppers playing quarterback.”  [Hmm….judging from his passing ability, maybe they should try him at defensive end.]

5.  On the potential for the “window closing” on Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and Demarcus Ware,“if these young guys step up and join these other great Cowboys, they don’t need a window to jump through they’ll come through your GARAGE!”

4.  On the big Cowboys back-up QB battle, “Any time you bring in a veteran quarterback like Kyle Orton, you’re sending a message to Stephen McGee.” (Huh?)

3.  In response to Tirico’s expressed love for the Raiders’ training camp location (Napa), “When you’re in the wine cellar listening to violin music, I’m in the BLACK HOLE WITH SPIKE!.  This is where I like to be.”

2.  On Raiders’ kickers, “Sea Bass and Lecher used to drive me CRAZY when I was coaching.  I nicknamed Janikowski ‘Butthead’ and Lechler ‘Beavis.’  Just like that MTV show I love so much, ‘Beavis and Butthead.’ [imitating the trademark Beavis and Butthead laugh] But they have matured and have become two of the greats at their position in the NFL.”

1.  After the game’s sole scoring play, “Woohoo! Three points, wow!”