Gruden roasts Commanders name & fight song, says he 'didn't make any decisions' in DC


You could accuse former Washington head coach Jay Gruden of a lot, but you could never accuse him of not having a sense of humor.

Gruden, 55, has been taking it easy playing golf since coordinating the Jaguars' offense in 2020. He checked in with Grant Paulsen on 106.7 The Fan Tuesday afternoon to weigh in on all sorts of Commanders and NFL topics.

At one point, Washington's current team name came up. It changed from the Washington Redskins to the Washington Football Team the summer after his Oct. 2019 departure from Washington, and then again — from the WFT to the Commanders — in Feb. 2022.

"[Carson Wentz] does have to do some improving for the Washington Football Team — or whatever their name is — to do better," Gruden quipped.

"Commanders," Paulsen corrected him.

"Commanders!" Gruden shouted glibly.

"What do you think of the Commanders as a team name," Paulsen asked.

"I don't really have a thought. I don't like it," Gruden said. "They should have just kept the Football. I've already made my two cents known. It doesn't matter to me. It's a name. It's up to these football players in Washington to make that name a proud staple of this area and hopefully this year they can get it done."

When informed the Commanders are coming out with a new fight song, Gruden said, "Wow, isn't that something? That'll really make a difference."

Paulsen informed Gruden that the Commanders allowed their fans two weeks ago to choose from one of two new lyrical medleys, one that replaces the "Braves on the Warpath!" line from the old "Hail to the Redskins!" fight song with "Fight for our Commanders!" and the other that swaps out "Leaders on a Mission!" with the same line. Paulsen then sampled the audio accompaniments that the team put out for both.

"That is exciting, man," Gruden replied sarcastically after hearing the first. "That just got me fired up."

"Yeah, yeah. That's a... good one," Gruden replied wryly after hearing the second.

"Which one would you go with," Paulsen asked.

"I'd go with neither," Gruden deadpanned. "I'd play like a Guns N' Roses song coming out of the tunnel, something exciting. You know what I mean? 'Welcome To The Jungle' or something exciting, man. Get these guys going."

Gruden then sang the "Leaders on a Mission!" refrain himself, adding, "I don't think that gets anybody fired up."

The conversation wrapped up with Paulsen noting that Gruden kept HBO's "Hard Knocks" docuseries from coming to Washington and Gruden remarking that no NFL head coach wants those cameras in their building. Although, he did say the filmmakers were very respectful when the Bengals were featured in 2013. Gruden was Cincinnati's offensive coordinator that year and his star rose just in time to land the Redskins head coaching job after that season.

"That wasn't my call," Gruden said of the Redskins turning down Hard Knocks repeatedly. "I had bosses ahead of me that made those calls. Bruce Allen, those guys made those [calls]."

Allen, Washington's former team president, was fired months after Gruden following the conclusion of a 3-13 season in 2019.

"I didn't make any decisions around here," Gruden added. "I just sat there, called plays."

"[Ron] Rivera, it's coach-centric. [He's] president and head coach," Paulsen joked. "You should have got that deal."

"I know. I should have got that deal," Gruden said. "I wish I would have."

"You gotta talk to your agent about that," Paulsen ribbed him one last time.

Listen to the full interview above.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports