Peter King: Jon Gruden's coaching legacy was 'a little bit of a creation of the media'

By , Audacy Sports

Not only is Jon Gruden's time as the Las Vegas Raiders head coach over, but it's hard to imagine after the emergence of e-mails that showed him using racist, homophobic and sexist language that the 58-year-old will ever coach in the NFL again.

The No. 1 story surrounding Gruden, as should be the case, will continue to be the fallout from his hateful messages -- and the stupidity of sending them to someone with an NFL e-mail account. We should also continue to ask why, at the very least, a larger portion of the findings in the Washington Football Team investigation haven't been made public.

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However, Gruden is one of the most discussed coaches of this era, and had a complicated legacy even before the emergence of these e-mails. And with that, NBC's Peter King wondered on his podcast Tuesday just how good of a coach that Gruden really was.

"I guess I'll just end with this. Jon Gruden is going to go down in history as basically a controversial person, obviously. But I wonder if history -- when judging him as a coach -- will judge him as a better coach than he really was.

"Because in his career, Jon Gruden was 60-57 as a coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He won a Super Bowl there, obviously. He was three games over .500 in the regular season with the Bucs. And then was 62-59 with the Raiders, three games over .500 with the Raiders. And in his last three full seasons, he never brought the Raiders to the playoffs after being signed to a $100 million contract.

"And again, this is the ninth story on a day like this. But the fact is, I think we ought to realize that this is a huge, huge story. But Gruden was a little bit of a creation of the media, of an invention of the media. 'I get to work at 3:17 a.m., and all this.' I now look at sort of the myths sometimes that we make and say 'Jon Gruden was an OK football coach, but he was not a $100 million football coach.' And, a lot of people got sort of enthralled by the aura of Gruden ... the charisma of Gruden ... the TV personality that was Gruden."

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It's hard to discount Gruden leading the Buccaneers to a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII, even if he did defeat his former (and future) team with a roster largely developed by Tony Dungy. Flags -- even if he's removed from the team's Ring of Honor -- do fly forever.

We also don't know how Gruden's second stint with the Raiders would have panned out if his actions hadn't cut it short. For all the controversial moves -- trading Khalil Mack, seemingly always reaching for players in the first round -- Gruden seemed to decide to take a step backward when he arrived, in hopes of building a sustained contender. There's no question that he helped to revive the career of Derek Carr, but Gruden had his work cut out trying to keep the Raiders at the top of a loaded AFC West, both in 2021 and beyond.

Perhaps Gruden's coaching legacy -- heinous e-mails aside for a moment -- will be that he was a tremendous offensive mind, but not someone that was a very good leader of men. What we've heard in recent days from Chris Simms and Keyshawn Johnson, among others, suggests that this would be a fair assessment.

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