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ESPN Broadcaster Jon Gruden the new Oakland Raiders coach

OAKLAND, January 7, 2017 — NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport announced that former ESPN NFL announcer Jon Gruden has been hired as the Oakland Raiders next head coach, with a $100 million contract for 10 years.

The news broke just hours after Gruden finished announcing the Kansas City and Tennessee wild-card game on Saturday. The Oakland Raiders have announced a press conference for Tuesday, where they will introduce him as head coach.

Gruden’s $100 million contract, is the largest in NFL history. Gruden’s ESPN broadcast partner Sean McDonough congratulated him during the broadcast but Gruden said “Nothing’s official.” The Oakland Raiders announced their decision to hire Gruden via social media and on Twitter.

The Oakland Raiders previously hired Gruden several years ago. From 1998 to 2001, Jon Gruden coached the Raiders and in four seasons, left with a 40-28 record, including one appearance in the AFC title game.  He spent seven seasons with the Buccaneers, winning a Super Bowl title against the Raiders in 2002.

The Raiders were in need of a coach after they decided to part ways with Jack Del Rio, following a devastating six-win season. In 2016, Oakland won 12 games, which gave Del Rio a four-year extension, but this season the team failed to deliver.  Analysts have pointed to multiple possibilities of why the team failed this season:

  • Raiders fired offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and replaced him with rookie coordinator Todd Downing.
  • Defense struggled with defense coordinator Ken Norton Jr., leading to a late-season firing and replacement with John Pagano.

All this combined led to the firing of Del Rio at the conclusion of his third season and fight to get Gruden. Raiders have rehired coaches before but the results were not what they were hoping. In 2006, former owner Al Davis hired Art Shell, after firing him the first time. Shell ended up being fired after one year, when the raiders ended the season 2-14. The Washington Redskins have even done it, with the hiring of Joe Gibbs. Gibbs left the NFL in 1992, with three Super Bowl titles in his career. He returned in 2004, and in four seasons ended up with a 30-34 record, leading the Redskins to two playoff appearances.  While Gruden will be head coach, he will be bringing along Greg Olson as his offensive coordinator, Paul Guenther, who will be his defensive coordinator. He has also appointed Rich Bisaccia as his special teams coach.

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