I don’t understand the Jon Gruden to Tennessee rumors. I really don’t. Gruden rumors fly around every year, but for some reason, they seem to be picking up more steam than currently. He’s not a savior of a coach and he won’t save your program, even if he did ever leave his perfect job.
For starters, why would he ever leave his current job where he is making $6.5 million a year to watch Monday Night Football? For comparison sake, that would make him the fourth highest paid college football coach, behind Nick Saban, John Harbaugh, and Dabo Swinney. I doubt Tennessee would shell out that kind of money for a guy with virtually no college experience, but knowing Tennessee, maybe they would. Even if he did leave ESPN, he would be able to make a lot more money in the pros while not having to deal with things like recruiting and boosters. Gruden has also previous expressed his disdain of some aspects of the college game.
If you’re Tennessee, or anyone else for that matter, why would you even want Gruden? There are a ton of more qualified candidates at the college ranks than someone who has never been a head coach in the college game and hasn’t coached at all since 2008. The last time Gruden even coached at the college ranks was as the tight ends coach for Pacific University in 1989 and he was the passing game coordinator for Southeast Missouri State. In the NFL, Gruden compiled a 38-26 record with the Raiders before winning Super Bowl XXXVII. Following this season, Tampa Bay never won another playoff game in the remaining six years of Gruden, going 45-51 over that stretch. There’s a reason he never got back into the league.
There is enough offensive talent on this Tennessee team that an offensive-minded coach could turn it around quickly. I have no doubt that Gruden could get talent to Knoxville and maybe have a decent team, but he does not want everything else that comes along with coaching at the college level. If you are Tennessee, you need a coach who has been through the fire on the college level before. There can be a large debate as to who this future coach is, but it is not Jon Gruden.