The Failed Gruden Experiment

Jon Gruden resigned as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday following the discovery of emails he sent between 2011-18 that contained racist, homophobic, and misogynistic language.

His departure ended arguably the worst NFL coaching investment in history.

Gruden was in the fourth year of a 10-year, $100 million contract signed in 2018 — at the time the richest head coaching deal in league history. He’s expected to forfeit the remaining $60 million.

The decision to hire him was dubious from the start.

  • Gruden notoriously won a Super Bowl with Tampa, but otherwise never won another playoff game in his career and left with an overwhelmingly average record (57-55).
  • In his first stint coaching the Raiders (1998-2001), he went 38-30 with two playoff wins.
  • The Raiders have not won a postseason game since winning the AFC before falling to Gruden’s Buccaneers in the 2003 Super Bowl.

Gruden went 22-31 in his second stint with the team — yet his $10M salary this season ranks third behind postseason fixtures Bill Belichick ($12.5M), with his 31 playoff wins and six Super Bowls, and Pete Carroll ($11M), who has 11 playoff wins and one ring.

Assistant Rich Bisaccia was named interim coach, making him the sixth head coach in the last decade for the dysfunctional franchise.