MMQB Mailbag: Gruden's decision leaves Shanahan in prime position
What should have been the biggest football news item of the day Monday:
What remained the biggest football news item of the day Monday: The Call. I'll get to that in a few paragraphs. Blessed relief. We've got something else to talk about other than all Belichick, all the time.
Gruden: Interesting, very surprising decision. In my mind, Shanahan and Gruden, both Super Bowl winners, were 1 and 1a on the postseason coaching carousel, with
To make it clear, Gruden told me he definitely would not coach anywhere in 2010 and didn't plan on coaching the year after; and ESPN vice president
After talking to Gruden Monday afternoon, I got the impression it was some about family, some about the exhausting reality of the business, and some about liking what he's doing. A good friend of Gruden's stressed that last point to me later Monday, telling me Gruden's surprised how much he likes a more sane life and is digging his new job on TV.
"As you know,'' Gruden said, "I love this game very much. This job gives me the opportunity to see the game at a different angle, and I'll be honest -- I just fell in love with it. I want to get good at it. I really like the team I'm on at ESPN. They're really trying to help me be good.''
I told Gruden I was surprised -- that I thought it was a given he'd take this one-year hiatus from coaching and be back in 2010.
"Look,'' he said, "I went into this with an open mind. They've told me they want me to stay around, and it's nice to be wanted. I was in Oakland for four years, then got traded away from there. I was in Tampa for seven years and got fired. That's a little bit of an open wound, to be honest. So it's nice to be wanted. I've got a great crew. I love working with
"I'm 46 years old. I probably will coach again. I miss the opportunity to coach players, to help them get better. I really miss the competition. But I don't miss the agony.''
Gruden says he hasn't missed any of his high-school son's football games this year, and he's enjoyed being more a part of the lives of his wife and all three sons.
"This is going to give me a chance to get my act together in some other ways,'' he said. "My boys are at the age where they need a father to be around a little bit more.''
You mean it's not conducive to a good family life to be going to work at 3:17 a.m., five days a week?
It's a good call by Gruden the person and Gruden the announcer; he has a chance to be good at it, as long as he remembers he's working outside the family now. I also really like how he's taken the year for some continuing education about football. We talked about the spread offense and how much he's learned about it from reaching out to college coaches. "I've really learned a lot from [Oregon coach]
So now two of the interesting 2010 coaching candidates are off the market -- Gruden and Tennessee coach
"A couple of things. If you give
So I called Payton. What would Payton have done in this case?
"The question you're asking is something I really can't know without actually being there and knowing all the variables,'' he said. The question can't exist in a vacuum, he said. How's your defense holding up? What kind of confidence do you have in your quarterback? Do you fear the other team's offense? Do injuries from the night play a factor?
"Only Bill can know how the game is unfolding, and it's not something he's going to talk about," Patyon added. "There are some things you don't want to say to your team or to the public. I remember learning from
"Sometimes the conventional thing is what the defense wants you to do. The Colts wanted Bill to punt. But I'm watching the game at home Sunday night, and about five seconds after they didn't make the third down, I'm looking at their sidelines and I say, 'He's going for it.' ''
I got the strong feeling Payton would have punted, but as he said, he wouldn't know for sure without being on his sideline and considering everything -- whether he felt good about getting the two yards, and how he regarded the matchup between his defense and the opposing quarterback.
There's no question in my mind that having Peyton Manning on the other side of the ball changed everything for Belichick.
I'd like to thank many of you for pointing out what a math dolt I am. Quoting
OK. My base disagreement with the call is that I think the situation that most favors the Patriots is forcing Manning to drive the Colts 72 yards to score a touchdown in two minutes with one timeout. (I arrive at 72 yards by factoring in
I've read the intelligent piece on
I'm not saying the mathematical theory is wrong; it's not. I just think there's a certain amount of playing by feel. And I could not have a feeling to not punt in that situation because of the imminent consequences of failure. Would Manning drive it 72 yards on me? Maybe. But I'll take my chances on a 72-yard drive -- after picking off Manning twice in the second half -- over converting a fourth down and risk giving him a 29-yard field.
Now onto your e-mail:
Absolutely disagree. When the Bengals have beaten you twice in eight weeks, fair and square, and when they've held you touchdown-less at home, you can think whatever you want. But I think it's beneath a proud team like the Steelers to try to point to very minor factors here as excuses. Take your medicine and live to fight another day.
I equate the field goal the Jags kicked with an extra point. Also,
Because it wouldn't give the networks enough of a selection. I agree with you; for fairness, it makes more sense. But it wouldn't make sense for four networks to split eight games.
VIN number. (
ATM machine. (
SAT test. (
HIV virus. (