Coming off a convincing 31-7 victory vs. the Atlanta Falcons and capturing a two-game lead in the NFC South with a 6-4 record, the last thing Bucs head coach Jon Gruden expected to worry about at his Monday press conference was answering questions about his interest in the vacant head coaching job at the University of Michigan. However, the question was posed to Gruden during his usual meeting with the media.
Gruden, who was rumored to be interested for the Notre Dame job in 2004, quickly shot down any rumors that he was looking to leave the Bucs for Michigan. Gruden is looking for a contract extension as his recent contract is up after the 2008 season.
"I don't know anything about that," Gruden said. "I have what I think is the best job in all of football, and I'm very happy to be here."
That seems to be the standard line for any coach that currently has a job when asked about a vacant job. However, Gruden's only two head coaching jobs have been in the NFL – with the Bucs and Oakland Raiders – and it's hard to believe that he would leave the NFL for the college ranks.
Gruden has a career record of 83-71 (53.8 winning percentage) in the regular season and is 5-3 in the postseason. He was responsible for bringing the only Super Bowl championship to the Bucs franchise in 2002, defeating his former team, the Raiders, 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII.
During his tenure with the Bucs, Gruden has a 45-45 (.500 winning percentage) record and is 3-1 in the playoffs. He has led Tampa Bay to two division titles and has this season's team heading toward another NFC South championship. Gruden will likely receive a contract extension from the team if the Bucs win the division and make the playoffs.
In Oakland, Gruden continued his reputation of being an offensive genius in leading the Raiders to one AFC West division title and one AFC championship game. Gruden was 2-2 in the postseason with the Raiders, including being linked with the infamous Tom Brady "tuck rule" playoff game in 2001 vs. the New England Patriots.
Gruden finished with a 38-26 (59.3 winning percentage) record with the Raiders. His offenses ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in three of four seasons (1999-2001) in Oakland with the highest ranking (No. 5) coming in 1999. The Raiders ranked in the top 10 in points scored in those seasons as well.
His first stint as an offensive coordinator came in Philadelphia in 1995, helping lead the Eagles to a 10-6 record. Gruden spent three seasons with the Eagles before taking the head coaching job with Oakland. The nine-year head coach has had four stints in the college ranks including a graduate assistant position at the University of Tennessee, passing game coordinator with Southeast Missouri State and wide receivers coach at the University of Pacific and the University of Pittsburgh.
The foundation of Gruden's West Coast offensive style was learned under Bill Walsh with the San Francisco 49ers in 1990 as an offensive assistant. He joined fellow Bill Walsh disciple Mike Holmgren in Green Bay as an offensive assistant in 1992 and became the Packers wide receivers coach from 1993-94.
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