Welcome to another rendition of “Positively Gruden,” where I break down the top praise, plaudits, and pats on the back from America’s favorite fawning former coach. This week we were treated to another horrible MNF match-up between the Chargers-Jags, the fourth straight in fact. Just look at these scores: Packers over Vikings 45-7; Patriots over Chiefs 34-3; Saints over Giants 49-24; and this week, Chargers over Jags 38-14.
I was just starting to feel bad for the guy until I opened up the latest edition of the New Yorker to find that Coach Gruden was profiled…on the COVER! This aint the USA Today sports section, folks; this is the New Yorker. Apparently Jon Gruden has reached national icon status that transcends sports and requires intellectual exposition of the highest degree (next up Maya Angelou is going to write a poem about him.) So I guess he can take a little gentle ribbing and some crappy games to announce. Heck, we’re all watching them too!
You can read the full New Yorker article here, but let me just summarize a few things we learn about Jon Gruden:
– He really really really really loves football
– In fact, he loves it so much that he wakes up at 3:17am! to start watching tape
– He’s got an encyclopedic knowledge Xs and Os but also genuinely loves the violence and battle of wills that football brings
– He gets so riled up at players’ mistakes on tape that he’ll start cursing at the TV and referring to players like their his own (i.e., “we’ve got to get better!)
– But he dumbs down/sugarcoats his MNF broadcasts for the average fan
I don’t know about you but, to me, this all adds up to the not-so-secret revelation that our time with Gruden on Monday Night Football is limited. This is no John Madden–a happy-go-lucky dolt that was content to ride a bus, eat turkey legs, and shout Batman fighting phrases (Boom! Pow! Thwap!) during good blocks or tackles. No, this is a man who is biding his time waiting for the right opportunity for his triumphant return. Perhaps the Los Ang-, I mean, Jacksonville Jaguars.
But I digress. We still have the matter of this week’s Top Ten List to get to. Just a warning, though, these aren’t very good. Even Picasso would have a hard time painting with dog poop.
After the Jags’ best pass play of the night, to an offensive tackle who apparently has little to live for, “That was the highlight of Guy Whimper’s life right there.”
“Boy, this Vincent Brown, this rookie out of San Diego State has continued to get better and better, and he shows great body control and when the ball’s in the air he goes up and gets it. I love the way he aggressively SNATCHES the football.”
After a nice TD catch, “How ’bout that Cecil Shorts, from Mount Union College, I love it!”
On MJD, “You gotta love this running back, the desire, the skill, the persistence he’s shown the last few years.”
On Norv Turner
“That’s Norv Turner, he has what I think is the best play action passing attack in football.”
“Man, I love the way they run Power….It’s just physical football….Norv Turner will SLAM these power plays at you.”
“If you come to my office and want to study film in the offseason, you’re gonna study every one of Norv Turner’s plays.”
On Phillip Rivers
“You gotta both get raises for drafting Phillips Rivers because he has no quit in him. Don’t count Phillip Rivers out!”
“It’s hard not feeling like you got a chance when you have a quarterback like Phillip Rivers.”
“Phillip Rivers, he’s gonna play 16 regular season games, I don’t care if they’re 4-7 or 7-4.”
Waxing Philosophical (that New Yorker article must have gotten to him)
“Success is the greatest developmental tool I can find.”
On Tim Tebow (Since Gruden was in Jacksonville, he was required under both Florida and God’s law to talk about Tim Tebow)
“Tim Tebow mania, he’s from here, he’s from this Jacksonville area, and it’s killing these fans.”
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