We asked Tampa Bay Times readers how they would feel if Jon Gruden, who helmed the Bucs’ victory over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII, left the Monday Night Football booth to become the next head coach of the Raiders.
Here are some of the responses we received:
GRUDEN WAS ONE OF US
Hugh Culverhouse talked about being "jilted at the altar" when Bill Parcells said he would coach the Bucs and then changed his mind. While you can’t say that Jon Gruden jilted the Bucs if he goes on to coach the Raiders, it will sure seem like that particular marriage is not one that was meant to be.
Gruden is meant to coach the Bucs.
As someone who has followed the team since year one, all through 0-26 and from Lee Roy Selmon and Ricky Bell onward, I appreciated Gruden wasn’t just a coach, but a huge Bucs fan. He knows the names from the past. Not only knows the names, but has fond memories of having lived through it as a kid, at the old One Buc Place. So when he coaches the Bucs, it’s with history in mind and with a specific passion. How many NFL franchises have been coached by someone who grew up around the team?
If he does go on to coach the Raiders, I’d wish him all the best. But I would certainly wonder if he could have revived a dying fan base and sparked interest again, along with winning another championship for Tampa.
Dan McKechnie, Lagos, Nigeria (from Orlando)
KOETTER IS A BETTER FIT
I loved Jon Gruden when he was with the Raiders and loved him more when he was with the Buccaneers. However, the Buccaneers should give Coach Koetter a chance to grow. This is a different era of football and I think Koetter is a better fit for this team. He should not be blamed for Jameis Winston’s mishaps and the defensive line lack of sacks. I’d say to Gruden, "Good luck with the Raiders. I hope we play you soon and beat you."
James Phillips, Seminole Heights
HE WAS THE RAIDERS’ FIRST
Gruden only won that Super Bowl because he knew the Raiders system. Several years ago Chucky came back to Ricky’s Sports Bar in San Leandro and was treated like a returning king. I was there and he said that there are no fans in football like Raider fans. Chucky wants that passion and he will be bigger than life in Vegas.
Raiders fans feel that Chucky was ours. If it wasn’t for the "tuck rule" we would have probably been to several more Super Bowls. That started the Patriot dynasty and we are still bitter about it.
Mike Hermosa, Turlock, Calif.
LET DIRK FIX IT
While I would of loved for the Bucs to pick him up, I agree with the ownership sticking with Dirk as we really need to let him and the GM really put their stamp on this team. We have a lot of holes still that we need filled through this draft.
Nick Terzick, Oldsmar
SO MUCH FOR THOSE CLUB SEATS
I’ll tell you how I feel: Exactly how I felt when they fired coach Gruden for going 9-7 two years in a row: Kicked below the stomach.
I was planning to buy two club seats the day they announced Gruden was back. Forget that. And now to hear Koetter claim confusion as to why people are down on Donovan Smith, that Mike Smith is coming back, and he let Sean Payton smack him around? Dirk Predictable back for a final insult to America’s Next Great City. Seige the Day? Ha. Wake me in a year.
Chris Rodems, Orlando
A GRUDEN-WINSTON DREAM DASHED
I will be happy to see Gruden back in the NFL. However, I was hoping to see him come back into Tampa and work with Jameis. I liked Koetter but I was not impressed many times this year with his play-calling and decision-making. We were way better then a five-win team.
Jeremy Hodgins, Regina, Saskatchewan
HE NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED
First of all, he never should have been fired. They’re were circumstances behind the scene he had no control of. Glazers and money have always been an issue. They took the cheap way out and we’ve been on the losing end for 10 years.
When the Raiders hire Gruden back, many in this area will realize the hope that someday he would be back with the Bucs ends. We felt as long as he was in the broadcast booth, we had hope. That will soon be gone.
Regardless of some saying he’s not the answer, he brought the team presence on the national stage. We were in conversation. We were Chucky’s team.
Since then, we’re back to being perennial losers! Since he left, we’re back to the 0-14 days. Same old Bucs.
From a Bucs fan from 1977, but gave up our season tickets when the clown show took the field in Tampa.
Irma Lupo, Brooksville
Oakland/Vegas is where he belongs. He has to have a "Ready to Win’’ now team! He can’t seem to be able to Develop one!!
Thomas Mola, on Facebook
Depends, but if he takes the Raiders straight to the Super Bowl and the Bucs wind up 8-8 or worse again, I’ll be mad.
James Perrone, on Facebook
If fans love him that bad, let them root for the Raiders if it happens. All the negative fans that settle for top 5 draft picks and want coaches fired every two years is ridiculous.
Jordan Peoples, on Facebook
I still think he stays at ESPN. I will believe it when I see it, not before. If he does (leave), he does. It doesn’t bother me.
Keith Blanck, on Facebook
Not happy. He’s a Buc and a FLORIDA BOY. IT HURTS.
Todd Crouse, on Facebook
He left Oakland to coach here. Fair trade. Now give us Dungy back.
Robert Reeves, on Facebook
I support Koetter. I think he has a ton of weaknesses — but they can be worked on. However, I think for the sake of Winston’s development it was the right decision. Starting over in a new system could slow his development.
Trae Williams, on Facebook
Didn’t we already run Gruden out of Tampa??
Mario Smith, on Facebook
Doesn’t surprise me. Not like the Glazers would spend the money on a quality coaching staff to begin with. The Glazers are absentee landlords. They don’t care about winning. They care about money.
Clark W. Griswiener, on Twitter
Best thing about Gruden to Raiders is not having to listen to him on MNF.
Ernest Myers, on Twitter