SBD/December 7, 2012/Media

Jon Gruden Called The Natural Successor To John Madden In Playboy Profile

Gruden has recently been rumored for several college and NFL coaching jobs
ESPN "MNF" analyst Jon Gruden is profiled by PLAYBOY's Karl Taro Greenfeld, who notes it has been three years since John Madden retired from "SNF," leaving a "void in the national psyche for everyone's big, cool, zany football pal." Gruden is the "only broadcaster with the personality, swagger and natural sense of humor -- and Super Bowl-winning credibility -- who can fill that gap." ESPN's Mike Tirico, Gruden's "MNF" boothmate, said, "He has the qualities of a preacher, coach, motivational speaker and guy sitting at the bar next to you all rolled into one, and he plays those characters while dispensing deep football knowledge. It's unique football packaging." Greenfeld notes Gruden made his on-air debut for NFL Network leading up to the '09 NFL Draft, and his "honest evaluations of talent were immediately noticed -- by NFL Network's competitors over at ESPN." "MNF" Senior Coordinating Producer Jay Rothman said, "Oh, I wanted him badly." Gruden: "He told me, 'Look, you called plays for 15 years in this league. Don't hold back.' ... The main thing was they told me I would get to study film, all the film I wanted. I can study the Bengals and the Ravens all day if I want. I can look at tapes all day." Gruden's wife, Cindy, was asked if her husband is happier broadcasting than he was coaching. She said, "Sometimes I think Jon has two monsters on his shoulder. One is go back to coaching, and the other is stay with this, have a nice life with his family. He'll always have those two monsters" (PLAYBOY, 12/ '12 issue).

Gruden in recent days has been mentioned as a candidate to replace Dennis Allen as Raiders coach, but SI's Peter King said "it would be hard to imagine" Gruden returning to the team he coached from '98-'01. King said he could "see Gruden going back" to the NFL as a coach, but "probably not for a couple of years." King: "I think ESPN would go bat dung if Jon Gruden left a year after they gave him a two-man booth. He basically runs the 'Monday Night' telecast. He runs the meetings. He's the big guru with the team and to me, if you're Jon Gruden you leave for a great job" ("PTI," ESPN, 12/5). SI's Jim Trotter said Gruden's agent "should get the biggest commission of any agent in the business because his name has been associated with every job out there trying to create leverage" ("Rome," CBS Sports Network, 12/5). Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio said the job for Gruden's agent is "to create the most possible sizzle for Jon Gruden. You want him to be the hot candidate, you want him to be the guy who can write his own ticket, who can say, 'This is who I want to work for, this is how much money I want, this is how much power I want'" ("Pro Football Talk," NBC Sports Network, 12/5).
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