Ah yes, we’ve finally come to one of my favorite times in all of sports, #GrumorSZN.
For the uninitiated, #GrumorSZN is this magical time, most commonly associated with the head coaching vacancy at the University of Tennessee, where rumors of Jon Gruden’s return to coaching abound.While Gruden is the obviously sexy choice, you’re asking a man who has probably the best job in America, working one day a week on air for Monday Night Football and a few days prior to the NFL Draft rambling about Spider 2 Y Banana, to take a job with instant unrealistic expectations and the demand of recruiting. Doesn’t seem likely.
Aside from the above, the SEC is currently in a state of disarray with Alabama sitting alone at the top and everyone else trying to claw their way up the mountain only to have their dreams completely crushed. (Don’t @ me, we all know I’m right) Really looking forward to Alabama-Georgia on Dec. 2nd just so Georgia fans can have their hopes dashed in Atlanta. Seriously, it’s going to be electric. Whole lotta sad cobras coming out that day.
But I digress, no team in the SEC, including UT, is as attractive of a job as they were even 5 years ago. Many teams are moving in the direction of younger coaches with the hope that they can outlast Saban (which we all know is impossible, mostly because he’s a fun-sucking, day-walking vampire who feeds off of the tears of the vanquished). It’s doubtful that Gruden would willingly walk into a situation like this, especially with no head coaching experience at the college level. I have no doubt that he would crush it as a player’s coach but people forget that he’s got to recruit those players first. How many kids coming out of high school really know who he is? I mean aside from his TV role? I just don’t see this being as big a recruiting tool as some people think.
When asked about leaving MNF for a coaching job, Gruden was recently quoted as saying “But as you know in life, you never say never to nothing…” and UT fans are losing their minds. Of course a bunch of people that willingly parade around in convict orange every Saturday won’t notice the double negative in that quote. I mean he’s basically telling you he’s going to say no and y’all are ready to run through a wall for the man.
I think the most likely landing spot if he does decide to return to coaching is the soon to be vacant head coaching job for the Tampa Bay Bucs. If Gruden decides to disband the FFCA in favor of the HFCA (Hired Football Coaches Association), look for him to make a return to the pros. Realistically I believe he’ll still be in the booth next season, but as a wise man once said “you never say never to nothing.” For now, here’s the closest thing UT fans will get to seeing Gruden on a sideline in Tennessee orange.