Super Bowl-winning head coach Jon Gruden joined ESPN in 2009 as an analyst for Monday Night Football, where he works alongside play-by-play voice Sean McDonough. Six times nominated for a Sports Emmy, Gruden contributes analysis throughout the year on ESPN Radio and other platforms, including Super Bowl week and the NFL Draft. He also serves as an analyst during ESPN’s annual Pro Bowl and NFL Wild Card game telecasts.
Gruden has been widely praised for his groundbreaking SportsCenter Special: Gruden’s QB Camp prime time series which debuted in 2010 and has become a popular element of ESPN’s annual pre-draft coverage. The in-depth, one-on-one interviews and film sessions have featured Gruden mentoring top quarterback prospects – more than 50 signal-callers in all the past seven years – such as Kirk Cousins, Andy Dalton, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton and Russell Wilson.
The success of Gruden’s QB Camp shows has led to similar specials, including a Gruden’s Champ Camp special with New Orleans Saints Super Bowl winners Drew Brees and Sean Payton in 2010, as well as a SportsCenter Special with Brett Favre prior to his enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Gruden also worked alongside Kenny Mayne and Darren Woodson on NFL training camp specials featuring the Seattle Seahawks (2014) and Dallas Cowboys (2015).
In addition to his NFL role, Gruden has called a handful of marquee college football telecasts since arriving at ESPN, including the Rose Bowl (2010) and BCS National Championship games (2010 and 2011) for ESPN Radio, and the 2011 and 2012 Outback and Orange bowl games, where he has worked alongside former MNF partner Mike Tirico and others.
Gruden conducts his regular film study at his Tampa, Fla., office – affectionately dubbed the FFCA (Fired Football Coaches Association). Always looking to expand his knowledge of the game and learn from others, he regularly welcomes high school, college and professional coaches to discuss football strategy, philosophy and to review game film.
The dynamic, outspoken and often fiery Gruden was a highly successful NFL head coach for 11 seasons with the Oakland Raiders (1998-2001) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002-08). He compiled a career record of 100-85 and led his teams to five division titles. Gruden’s best season was 2002 when the Buccaneers finished the regular season 12-4 and captured the Super Bowl XXXVII title with a 48-21 victory over the Raiders, the team Gruden helped build and had coached just one season earlier. At the time, the championship made then 38-year-old Gruden the youngest head coach ever to win a Super Bowl.
Gruden began his NFL coaching career in 1990 when Mike Holmgren, then offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers, hired him as an assistant in charge of quality control. Gruden quickly ascended through the ranks by learning the famed West Coast offense pioneered by longtime 49ers coach Bill Walsh. When Holmgren left the 49ers to become head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1992, he named Gruden the Packers’ wide receivers coach. After three seasons in Green Bay, Gruden moved on to become the Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator under head coach Ray Rhodes. In 1998, Gruden was chosen by Oakland owner and general manager Al Davis to be the Raiders’ new head coach at the age of 34.
A native of Sandusky, Ohio, Gruden graduated from the University of Dayton in 1985 with a degree in communications. He was a back-up quarterback and three-year letter-winner for the Flyers. After graduation, he started his career as a graduate assistant on Johnny Majors’ staff at the University of Tennessee in 1986. He also served as the quarterback coach at Southeast Missouri State (1987-88), and the wide receivers coach at both Pacific (1989) and Pittsburgh (1991) in the college ranks.
Gruden grew up in a football family. His father, Jim, served as an assistant at Notre Dame in the late 1970s and later with the Buccaneers, among his 38 seasons of collegiate and professional experience. Also, his brother Jay – the Washington Redskins head coach – served as an offensive assistant coach with the Bucs for seven seasons and spent 19 seasons in the Arena Football League as both an ArenaBowl-winning player and coach.
Gruden was named one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” in 2001 and he was the first non-player ever invited by the Walt Disney Co. to star in its popular post-Super Bowl “What’s Next?” commercial (with quarterback Brad Johnson) after leading the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl title in 2003. The recipient of the 2002 Coach of the Year honor at the ESPY Awards, Gruden was also recognized as Professional Coach of the Year at the 37th Victor Awards in 2003. He wrote the book Do You Love Football?! Winning with Heart, Passion, and Not Much Sleep with longtime NFL writer Vic Carucci. Gruden has appeared in national commercials for Corona and Hooters.
In 2012, Gruden participated in the 10-year Buccaneers anniversary to celebrate their Super Bowl championship team. He was also a special guest of the Raiders to light “The Fire that Burns Brightest” torch at the Oakland Coliseum in honor of Al Davis, the legendary late owner who once hired him.
Before joining ESPN, Gruden worked as a guest analyst with the NFL Network during the 2009 NFL Draft and Scouting Combine. During the summer of 2009, he participated in the inaugural NFL-USO Coaches Tour with Tom Coughlin, Bill Cowher, Jeff Fisher, and John Harbaugh, on a trip to meet and greet U.S. service members over several days in the Persian Gulf region.
Gruden is an ambassador for DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation’s “Sports Matter” initiative, which helps hundreds of public schools fund their athletic programs. In 2015, he was honored with the first-ever DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation Sports Matter Impact Award for his work championing youth sports. Gruden has volunteered as an assistant coach for his sons’ prep teams and worked hard to raise awareness about the youth sports funding crisis through his FFCA, both locally in Tampa and in MNF cities throughout the football season by hosting events that recognize the work of local high school coaches and presenting deserving programs with grant support and equipment.
Gruden and his wife, Cindy, are involved in a variety of philanthropic endeavors, particularly in the Tampa community where they live. In 2015, the Moffitt Cancer Center dedicated the Gruden Huddle Room at the Moffitt McKinley Outpatient Center in recognition of their support.