Nearly all the NFL’s head coaches have taken their turn at the podium in Indianapolis. Just three veteran head coaches are still yet to take their turn on Friday. Naturally the head coaches who receive the most attention are the new ones as this is the first chance many members of the media have had to speak with them in a press conference setting.
In total, there are seven teams who hired new head coaches this year. The Giants hired Pat Shurmer, Cardinals Steve Wilks, Lions Matt Patricia, Bears Matt Nagy, Titans Mike Vrabel, Colts Josh McDaniels...er... I mean Frank Reich, and of course the Raiders brought back Jon Gruden.
Head coaches have to stand in front of the media a lot, so they have to carry themselves a certain way. And outside of perhaps Bill Belichick, charisma can be helpful. Apparently, so much so that NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus graded and ranked each of the new head coaches to speak the past couple days by their charisma. As you might expect, the guy with 11 years experience as a head coach and 9 years in the Monday Night Football booth handled himself best.
Let’s start with the most obvious candidate. Gruden is back in the league after signing a 10-year, $100 million contract with the Raiders. On Wednesday, Gruden looked very much like a man pleased with his lot in life. You’d be comfortable too if you just signed a contract that made you essentially bulletproof. Gruden never really went away, of course. He spent the past decade in the booth for “Monday Night Football” talking about spiders and bananas and grinders.
As he stood at the podium, you could pick up on that extra polish gleaned from a decade of television work. He was smooth and engaging. He cracked jokes, too, explaining that his wife had issued him a “hall pass” to enjoy the more “social” aspects of this industry event. I particularly enjoyed his troll job of the analytics community, explaining his goal to “bring football back to 1998” while struggling with the corrected pronunciations of “data” (day-ta v. dah-ta).
All in all, it was a successful return for Gruden. It’s good to have him back.
Charisma Grade: 9.1/10
Yeah, everybody loves Chucky.