Just Say No To Chucky

While we work on the third post in our “2012 Eagles Magical Mystery Coaching Tour” series(*), we want to take a second to address a growing concern of ours.

(*)And we apologize for the delay. Between the holidays, work schedules and apathy, we’ve fallen behind.

We’ve already discussed why we don’t want Jon Gruden to be the next Head Coach of the Eagles, but we can’t seem to understand why there is still a large contingency of fans who strongly desire the Monday Night Football brown-noser color analyst.

Sure, Chucky won a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay… But with Tony Dungy’s team. Sure, he inherited a bad Raiders team and took them to back-to-back AFC Championship games and was one Tuck Rule away from a Super Bowl appearance… But he didn’t actually build the team.

Jon Gruden is a mercenary. He’s a fixer, much like Winston Wolf. He takes teams that are on the precipice of great things and pushes them over the top.

We were all for Gruden two or three years ago, when it appeared the Eagles were one move away from being truly elite and just needed something – specifically, a change at Head Coach – to get them over the hump, but those days are long gone. This franchise needs a complete makeover from coaching to players to philosophy… And that’s not what Gruden does.

When he arrived in Oakland in 1998, he found a team in transition: an aging Offense, Quarterbacked by the eternal Jeff George and flanked by Raider mainstays WR Tim Brown and RB Napoleon Kaufman; and a young, up-and-coming Defense being built around stud rookie CB Charles Woodson and a young Defensive Line. Flash forward three seasons to 2001 and the only major changes to the team were 36-year old QB Rich Gannon(**), 39-year old way-past-his-prime Jerry Rice, aging RBs in Charlie Garner and Tyrone Wheatley and a Defense that was only getting older and had no significant fresh blood. The only major addition was Chucky’s Offensive scheme… Which, by the way, is nearly identical to Andy Reid’s.

(**)Who inexplicably went from journeyman back-up to All-Pro and even won the MVP in 2002 (the year Gruden wasn’t his coach, by the way).

That Raiders team eventually made it to the Super Bowl the year Gruden left, and ironically got blasted by the Buccaneers’ team Gruden took over. They are still known as one of the worst Super Bowl teams in history(***). The point is: those Raiders teams half over-achieved and half benefited from playing in an absolutely dismal conference.

(***)And here’s where we get angry and depressed… That was OUR Super Bowl. That was the one that Andy and Donovan were destined to win, especially when they were up 7-0 in the NFC Championship Game against the Bucs (also known as the last game Eagles in Veterans Stadium history). But then Joe Jurevicius happened. We’ll never forgive you, Levon Kirkland… The 2002 Eagles would have absolutely murdered that Raiders team.

So, while Gruden may have a track record for making teams better than they are, his particular set of skills(****) only apply to teams headed in the right direction. This franchise is not one of those teams.

(****)Copyright, Liam Neeson.

We’re not saying he’s a bad coach… Far from it actually. He’s correctly considered an Offensive guru. And there’s a reason he’s been successful in the past and will be in such high demand when he does throw his hat back into the coaching ring. He’s just not the right fit for this team.

Hopefully Eagles fans – especially the one wearing the Chucky mask at Monday night’s game – will come to realize that.

One quick note…
We will be interviewed tonight at 8:30 p.m. EST on Beyond The Field, part of the Tailgate Radio Network. Listen live! We’ll post a link to the show when it’s up.

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