The thing about seeing Jon Gruden on the sideline coaching the Raiders is you feel like you know him in such a different way from other NFL bosses.
Sure, he cut his teeth as a great NFL coach, resurrecting the Y2K era Raiders and winning a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay. But he was in your living room every week from 2009 to 2017 as the color commentator on Monday Night Football.
It was a bit of a surprise when Gruden went back to coaching, giving up one of the great gigs in television. Bill O'Brien said on his radio show this week that Gruden "did a great job" on TV, but his all-time favorite was John Madden.
We asked O'Brien if talking to coaches every week during his TV tenure was an advantage for Gruden, but he just discussed how good Gruden was on MNF.
It's no surprise that the Raiders coach is excellent with the media. He joked to the Texans writers that if someone didn't like Deshaun Watson then they're probably a "miserable human being."
Of course Gruden is not the only coach to return to the sideline after a run on TV. We've seen this often, and in many sports. Madden never went back to coaching. But Dick Vermeil did, and won a Super Bowl. There was much speculation that Bill Cowher would do it but that hasn't happened.
In basketball and baseball there are plenty of examples. Pat Riley worked for NBC before reigniting his coaching career with the Knicks and Heat. Doug Collins and Mike Fratello come to mind as well. We always thought Houstonian Jeff Van Gundy might coach again, but he's enjoying life on ESPN/ABC and actually has had stints coaching the U.S. National team.
From a fan perspective, Gruden was more visible in the Monday Night Football booth. But his true love is coaching and he's in it for the long haul with the Raiders. He has them playing much better than in his re-entry campaign of 2018 when they were 4-12.
This bunch runs the ball well and has come up with nice wins against Chicago in London and the Colts in Indy. Both the Texans and Oakland are coming off losses, creating even more drama heading into this game on Sunday (3:25 p.m. CT, Sports Radio 610, 100.3 FM).