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Early life[ edit ] Gruden was born on August 17, , in Sandusky, Ohio. His other brother, James, is a radiologist at Weill Cornell Medicine.
After one year, he transferred to the University of Dayton. At Dayton, he was a three-year letterman and backup quarterback for the Flyers  under coach Mike Kelly. Gruden never saw much playing time, but the Flyers posted a 24—7 record during his three seasons at the University of Dayton.
Gruden then moved to the University of the Pacific in as offensive assistant as the tight ends coach. Walt Harris was the offensive coordinator at Tennessee, where Gruden was one of his graduate assistant coaches, and later hired him at Pacific. In , Gruden was a special assistant with the San Francisco 49ers under quarterbacks coach Mike Holmgren.
Gruden then was chosen by the owner and general manager of the Oakland Raiders , Al Davis , to be the Raiders' new head coach for the season. After uniting with journeyman quarterback Rich Gannon , Gruden led the Raiders to the top of the AFC West and they made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons from to the third season was under head coach Bill Callahan.
Oakland finished 12—4 in the season , the team's most successful season in a decade, and its first division title since , ultimately reaching the AFC Championship , where they lost, 16—3, to the eventual Super Bowl champions Baltimore Ravens. In , the Raiders would return to the postseason with a 10—6 record, but in the AFC Divisional Round a negated fumble proved costly as they were defeated, 16—13, in overtime by the eventual Super Bowl champions New England Patriots.
While Gruden was with the Raiders, Gruden acquired his nickname "Chucky" from Raiders defensive lineman Grady Jackson , who thought that the coach looked like the fictional character " Chucky " in the slasher movie Child's Play.
The team subsequently interviewed several other coaches and believed a deal was in place with Bill Parcells , before Parcells backed out, reportedly because his choice for General Manager, Mike Tannenbaum , told him not to accept the job because of the salary cap difficulties that Tampa Bay was about to endure.
With the franchise's search floundering, the fact that the coach who the Buccaneers wanted had only one year remaining on his deal, and the immediate hire of Dungy by the Indianapolis Colts , many fans and sports commentators began to openly question if the Buccaneers had made the right move by dismissing Dungy.
Only a big splash hire could quiet the storm, and this may have been the primary motivation for the Buccaneers to give up as much as they did to acquire Gruden.
Immediately after arriving in Tampa Bay, Gruden significantly retooled the offense with the addition of numerous free agents. His determination to fix the under-performing offense, so often maligned during Dungy's tenure, inspired Tampa's defense to another 1 ranking, which helped the team to a 12—4 season.
Both the offense and defense hit their stride in the playoffs; the Buccaneers posted a playoff per-game point differential of 23 points per game in victory, tied with the Dallas Cowboys for the highest average playoff margin of victory by a Super Bowl winner in the free agency era.
Despite the Super Bowl win, there were many who attributed Gruden's win primarily to the defense that coach Tony Dungy and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin had created during Dungy's tenure with the Buccaneers.
Gruden's mantra for the season was "Pound the Rock", a reference to commitment to the running game.
Gruden even went as far as to display a large chunk of granite in the locker room, a tactic mimicked by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars' slogan, "Keep choppin' wood", was tainted though when punter Chris Hanson injured his leg on an axe brought in to accompany a large log.
However, it seemingly disappeared from the lexicon the following year, and was not aggressively marketed or displayed on stadium video boards.
Unable to afford replacements, the team was decimated by injuries to many of the Super Bowl stars, including Joe Jurevicius , Greg Spires , Shelton Quarles , and Brian Kelly , as well as acrimony with highly paid veterans such as Sapp and wide receivers Keyshawn Johnson and Keenan McCardell.
When former Raiders general manager Bruce Allen joined the Buccaneers in , Gruden finally had the general manager—head coach partnership he desired, and while the salary cap continued to plague the team which spent the least money in the league between and  their and drafts yielded a few impact players, including Offensive NFL Rookie of the Year Award winner Carnell "Cadillac" Williams.
Also, marked a return to the playoffs, as the Buccaneers posted a surprising 11—5 record, despite the loss of starting quarterback Brian Griese and some controversial coaching decisions, including a two-point conversion in the final seconds to defeat the Washington Redskins , who would later return to Tampa Bay and eliminate the Buccaneers from the wild-card round of the playoffs.
Gruden speaking to an official at Heinz Field in December In , Gruden led the Buccaneers to a dismal 4—12 season, which was his worst record as a head coach. The season was the first time a Tampa Bay team had not won more than four games since During the interview, Joel Glazer defended Gruden's performance, citing lost draft picks, injuries, and salary cap issues.
However, he also said "Mediocrity will never be standard for the Buccaneers, but we have to move on. The Buccaneers returned to the playoffs in with a 9—7 record, including five divisional wins after resting starters for the final two games.
Despite this adversity, however, Gruden declared "The future is so bright around here I have to wear shades".
Going into December, the Buccaneers were on pace to make the playoffs, claim a bye week and have home field advantage.
However, the Buccaneers went winless in the month of December, in no small part due to a defensive collapse that saw the team give up an average of The Buccaneers ended the season with four losses in a row, and Gruden was fired by the Buccaneers on January 16, , after seven seasons with the team.
In the spring of , Gruden became the focus of the series Jon Gruden's QB Camp, where he went over the NFL development process with prospective NFL Draftees at quarterback, including Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in which he occasionally has talks about what he believes to be the best play in football a play-action pass called "Spider 2 Y-Banana", in which the fullback runs a flat route and is the primary target.
During the Monday Night Football broadcast, Gruden gave out a weekly award called the "Gruden Grinder" to the best player in the game that week. He signed a contract extension with ESPN, beginning in September , that lengthened his tenure with the broadcasting company for another five years.
Return to coaching: Oakland Raiders[ edit ] After nine years away from coaching in the NFL, the Raiders announced the return of Gruden as head coach on January 6, Bought a boat; I never used it.
Live on a golf course; I never play. I got to go compete. Some of his first few moves included signing several veterans, drafting Kolton Miller in the first round of the draft and trading away Khalil Mack for and first round draft picks, and later trading Amari Cooper for the Dallas Cowboys ' first round draft pick.
The team would go 4—12 in his first year back with the team.