Debating the Legacy of Jon Gruden: Raider or Traitor?

I recently wrote an article arguing for the hiring of Bill Parcells by the Oakland Raiders. One of the unintended results of the article was a vigorous discussion in which the name Jon Gruden was repeatedly mentioned. This got me thinking about the legacy that Gruden has created in Oakland.

Without a doubt, the majority of Raiders fans are also huge Jon Gruden fans and would love to see him come back to the Raiders in Oakland's very own story of the prodigal son. I am one of those fans. As a younger Raider fan, the only winning Raiders team I have ever seen in person were Chucky's Raiders, so I can't help but think of Gruden when I think of Raiders greatness.

But all of the love for Gruden by Raiders fans really makes me think about where it comes from. When Gruden first left Oakland in order to coach closer to home in Tampa Bay, many Raiders fans, including myself, were rather upset with Gruden.

The Raiders were one of the best teams in the AFC at the time and many felt as though Gruden was turning his back on the team. The thought that Gruden could leave the Raiders because he wanted to coach closer to home and his elderly parents did not sit well with many Raider fans.

To Raider fans, the love of the Oakland Raiders transcends everything else. There is no leaving the Raiders, once a Raider, always a Raider. So, when the coach who brought the Raiders back to prominence wanted to leave, many felt betrayed.

There were, of course, those fans who blamed his departure on Al Davis. Many believe that while Gruden liked the idea of coaching closer to his parents, that he would not have made the move unless he was pressured to do so by Davis, that Tampa Bay was really his first choice AFTER the Raiders.

However, while the true story has never fully come out, much like many stories in Raider land, most believe that it was Gruden who made the decision to leave the Raiders, as it was reported by most Bay ...

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