Jon Gruden as the next head coach of the Oakland Raiders is the worst kept secret in sports right now. It was reported by Adam Schefter that he would be the next head coach before the team had even fired Jack Del Rio, and so it’s a matter of the two sides acting like it’s not done until Gruden is done broadcasting this weekend’s wildcard game, while he is contacting assistants and putting his staff together, and while the Raiders satisfied the Rooney Rule requirements.
The Oakland Raiders aren’t the first team, and won’t be the last, to go through the motions to get their coach that they targeted before a job was formally open, to satisfy the Rooney Rule. Here’s former Oakland executive Amy Trask:
But it’s not just the Rooney Rule. As long as Gruden isn’t in the NFL, he can contact other assistants freely, recruit them, and engage in behavior that would otherwise be tampering. But with his return to Oakland being a fait accompli and us relying on honesty in when the deal is actually finalized, it sure seems like something fishy is afoot.
For example, Rich Bisaccia is leaving Dallas.
It seems like the deal might be done, but Gruden and the Raiders are just holding off on letting everyone in on it for their advantage. Meanwhile, Gruden is set to call a playoff game involving the Kansas City Chiefs. Normally, broadcasters conduct interviews and get access to inside info as part of the preparation. The Chiefs, though, should afford the Oakland Raiders all the deference to which he is due for this charade–namely none.