Gruden has reinvented himself since being fired by the BucsJameis Winston’s preparation for the draft included spending time with former Bucs coach Jon Gruden and his “Gruden’s QB Camp” specials that air on ESPN. ESPN IMAGESBy Ira Kaufman | Tribune Staff Published: August 23, 2015 at 08:48 PM TAMPA — Six years ago, the Buccaneers told Jon Gruden to hit the road.Instead, he hit paydirt.The charismatic coach who led the 2002 Bucs to a Super Bowl title has reinvented himself as a TV megastar and marketing mogul since his dismissal after a 9-7 season in 2008. As Gruden prepares for his role as ESPN analyst in tonight’s preseason matchup between Tampa Bay and Cincinnati at Raymond James Stadium, the contrasts between his personal success and the travails of the team he left behind are glaring.“It’s amazing how he’s now the face of ‘Monday Night Football,’ ” said former Bucs defensive tackle Anthony “Booger’’ McFarland, who will serve as a TV analyst on SEC football games this fall. “For him to ever leave that and go back into coaching, it would have to be the perfect scenario.”While the Bucs have lost 70 of their past 100 games, hiring three head coaches since Gruden’s departure, demands for Gruden’s services are still peaking.His agent, Bob LaMonte, said NFL teams with coaching vacancies inquire often about Gruden’s availability. LaMonte’s wife, Lynn, is kept busy coordinating Gruden’s marketing portfolio — whether he’s serving as a pitchman for Hooters or Corona or agreeing to serve as a motivational speaker for corporations willing to fork over a hefty fee.Gruden, who turned 52 a week ago, was a guest on David Letterman’s show. He was hired by Warner Brothers to promote the DVD release of “The Dark Knight Rises,” and Gruden has become an avid supporter of high school sports in the Bay area, raising funds for prep football programs. Entering his seventh season in the “Monday Night Football” broadcast booth, Gruden raises the intensity of play-by-play partner Mike Tirico and lead producer Jay Rothman with a relentless drive that characterized his tenure at One Buc Place.“It’s in Jon’s DNA to be like that, and he has joined a team that has the same DNA,’’ Rothman said. “He has an all-consuming passion for innovation and being cutting edge. It’s the same juice he had as a football coach ... it’s like the man’s on jumper cables. He loves this team and we love him.’’Gruden’s seven-year stint as Bucs coach was marked by the high point in franchise history, followed by disappointment. He guided Tampa Bay to the NFL summit in his first year replacing Tony Dungy, then went 45-51 the rest of the way.“It was a lot of fun, it was a great time,’’ recalled Gigi Duggan, a fan who drove up from Naples with her husband, Mike, to watch a recent Bucs practice. “Jon Gruden brought so much color and he didn’t apologize for who he was.’’Mike Duggan doesn’t buy the suggestion Gruden won with Dungy’s players.“Coach Gruden didn’t just put the keys in the ignition and drive us to the Super Bowl,’’ he said. “He added some big-time players and I’ll always thank the man for what he did here in Tampa.’’Through the years, Gruden’s name has often been linked to job openings on the pro and college level. Yet, ESPN keeps signing him to new, more lucrative deals. The most recent, announced in December, runs through 2021.“Being a part of ‘Monday Night Football’ alongside our ESPN crew is a dream job,” Gruden said in a statement issued at the time. “I love calling big prime-time games every week and spending time with the best players and coaches on the planet, while also finding new ways to teach and talk about football year round. There’s no place I’d rather be.”Gruden, who did not respond to interview requests for this article, frequently deflects questions about his broadcasting career and a possible return to coaching. It is unclear whether his ESPN contract prohibits him from coaching, though it is hard to imagine anything preventing him from doing so if he truly desired. Then again, why would he?Gruden has been nominated for four Sports Emmy Awards in the Best Analyst category, while “Monday Night Football” has received four nominations for Best Live Series during his tenure. His “Gruden’s QB Camp” specials have become a key element of ESPN pre-draft coverage, and he is a regular on the network’s live broadcast of the first round, bantering with anchor Chris Berman and draft guru Mel Kiper Jr.In January, Gruden and Tirico were the broadcast team for ESPN’s first NFL playoff game. And Gruden also calls select major college football games, including the Outback Bowl in Tampa.His weekly regimen affords him the opportunity to spend more time with his wife, Cindy, and their three sons. He can often be found in his darkened lair in Tampa, where he heads up the Fired Football Coaches Association (FFCA) and quizzes the nation’s top quarterback prospects while they watch tape from his vast film library.“I love football and I’ll be the first to tell you I miss coaching,’’ Gruden said on Paul Finebaum’s show on ESPN. “But I do look at my job here as a lot like coaching. I get a chance to be around it 364 days a year and I feel like I’m improving, but I don’t have a team.”In 11 seasons with the Bucs and Raiders, Gruden’s teams won five division titles. He earned two contract extensions in Tampa, but is more recognized now as a TV analyst and the subject of one of comedian Frank Caliendo’s uncanny impressions.Meanwhile, Bob LaMonte’s phone keeps ringing.LaMonte, whose firm represents five current NFL head coaches and Bucs GM Jason Licht, attended Gruden’s introductory news conference in Tampa on Feb. 20, 2002. After the final question was asked and the last flashbulb popped that afternoon, LaMonte was asked for his take on the proceedings.“The Glazers have just signed a man who may be the last coach they ever hire,” LaMonte said.Well, not firstname.lastname@example.org(813) 259-7833Twitter: @IKaufmanTBO
You need a man bad. Slim pickings in your neck of the woods?
You can PM on this forum so you don't have to hit on her in every thread, BTW.
Let me help you out dude, you seem like an ok guy.BP and I, have been friends for years. And I am married, and she knew that from day one. So friends chatting, is not necessarily hitting on someone. Also, she knows me and my Dad [michael89156] both. As do several other posters here on the Red. So your theory that I am Michael89156 doesn't hold water. He is 47 and I am 29. Thanks for the compliment though, appreciate it. This is him, with Favre back in his playing days. He is wearing the ball cap. He played 9 years for 3 different teams. Huge Buc fan. He never played for the Bucs though. He is an agent now, and does a little bit of talk radio. As for me, I can barely string 3 words together. I respect those guys that can run their mouth on talk radio for 3-4 hours at a time. Its not as easy as it looks. mike3 by anti java, on FlickrSo can we put your crazy theories to rest now?
That you make creepy flirty messages to her in every thread is not a crazy theory, just an observation. I doubt I ever said you are Michaelbot but I did know you were associated with it and I’m sure you’re at least partly responsible for its continued posting. I have no problem with Michaelbot, just think his operating system could use some fine tuning to weed out some of the non-Bucs stuff.I don't know why you told me the rest of the stuff.
That you make creepy flirty messages to her in every thread is not a crazy theory, just an observation. I doubt I ever said you are Michaelbot but I did know you were associated with it and I'm sure you're at least partly responsible for its continued posting. I have no problem with Michaelbot, just think his operating system could use some fine tuning to weed out some of the non-Bucs stuff.I don't know why you told me the rest of the stuff.
Hopefully we get a few makeup calls from the Minny game.
It's weird that you have your Michaelbot make all these threads and then respond to yourself immediately.
I am not a big Gru fan but I thought he called a excellent game. He was fair to everyone. Gave credit where due and knocked a few players when they deserved it. Even knocked the refs. I though he was fair and balanced. I hope he continues that during the season. Before it was to much rah rah bs.
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