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The NFL conspiracy report: Week 2, Jon Gruden is tanking the Raiders

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Seattle Seahawks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If you were looking for in depth film breakdown, or one of my opponent scouting reports, or even a Colts-centric article you’ve arrived at the wrong article. Welcome to the weekly conspiracy report where I, Chris Shepherd, will examine nefarious plots around the league and expose them for what they are.

Now sure, I won’t be able to provide you any “proof” and no I don’t have any sources (that you know of). What follows should be treated purely as entertainment that include plausible (and not so plausible) scenarios that no one employed by NFL teams would ever admit to, I accept no responsibility for anything you do with the information I’m about to give you. In fact I accept no responsibility for anything you’re about to read, at all.

In this week two expose of NFL conspiratorial glory we’re going to take a look at new (and old) Oakland Raiders head Jon Gruden. The purpose of what follows is to expose Gruden’s actions and make the world aware of his true intentions after returning to football after more than a decade away from the game.

Theory: Jon Gruden is tanking the Raiders

There are some important questions that need to be answered so we might get to the bottom of the mystery that has been Jon Gruden’s second stint in Oakland.

  • Jon Gruden was rumored for years for various coaching jobs, passing them all up until the Raiders came calling. Why?

Gruden was consistently one of the hottest names for open coaching jobs for years before he made the decision to return to football. He was a popular announcer, he had a job on Monday Night Football as long as he wanted.

If Gruden wanted to coach football he had a lot of opportunities before the Raiders came calling. Why would he pass on all of those possibly more attractive offers?

  • The Raiders have had five coaches since Gruden retired, why now?

Since taking over the franchise from his father, the Mark Davis Raiders only have one winning season. With that said, the Raiders finally have a young core of good players that look like they have the potential to win.

Reggie Mackenzie was hired as general manager in 2012, his time started out rough, but over time adding franchise cornerstones at Quarterback and pass rush as well as filling out the roster with talent, the Raiders have improved under his watch.

So could it be that the Raiders level of talent be what spurred Gruden’s decision to return? I think so, but not for the reason you might think.

  • Khalil Mack and Martavis Bryant... just why?

First Gruden goes out and trades a 3rd round pick for an oft suspended wide receiver who has never caught more than 50 passes in a season. Why? I seriously don’t have an answer for this question. Nothing.

Second, the Khalil Mack trade was insanely stupid. Mack was everything you could want in a player at the games second most important position. “But they got two 1st round picks for him!” and they sent a 2nd round pick with him. Further if you’ve got Jon Gruden making the picks and selecting guys like Kolton Miller a round early, does it matter how many picks you have? No, no it does not.

Further had you told me before the draft that Kolton Miller was a top 15 pick I would have assumed they resurrected Al Davis and he made the pick himself.

  • What Does a fully guaranteed 10 year $100 million contract do to the Raiders?

Jon Gruden can’t be fired anytime soon. If Davis decides to get rid of his head coach he will have to tie up $10 million per year on top of whatever he has to pay his new coach.

NFL teams make hundreds of millions per year, but every organization has a limit and paying Gruden that kind of money makes it nearly impossible for him to be fired. Gruden knows this and when questioned he said that if he didn’t get the job done, he wouldn’t take the money.

Jon Gruden

Sure Jon.

  • Why would he do it?
Buffalo Bills vs Oakland Raiders - October 23, 2005 Photo by Robert B. Stanton/NFLPhotoLibrary

This article goes a long way to describe what happened when Al Davis traded Jon Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gruden’s wife said the following after his trade in the middle of the night:

‘What just happened?’ And then it’s all these emotions because California’s your home, the Raiders are your team and you love those people. You’d been through a lot with them football-wise, at least from a wife’s perspective. We live and die with our husbands as well. So you have all these emotions of leaving the place that you love

This all happened not long after the Raiders were beaten by the Patriots in the famed “tuck rule” game. I think it’s pretty easy to assume this would be something to hold a grudge over.

Fitting the pieces together

Jon Gruden was traded, unceremoniously in the middle of the night in 2001, his wife described it as an emotional time having to leave their home and family and friends. He passed up other opportunities over the years until the Raiders came calling. The Raiders finally had a core of young players who could lead them to prominence. He then traded away one of the best defenders in the league and gave away a 3rd round pick for absolutely nothing in return, and finally Jon Gruden convinced Mark Davis to give him a 9-figure contract that makes him almost completely safe from consequence.

It’s pretty clear to me that Jon Gruden is running the Raiders into the ground as revenge for trading him all those years ago and it is the most amazing long-con in the history of the NFL. I’m rooting for Gruden, not because I hate the Raiders but because I want to read the tell all book “Revenge” by Jon Gruden.

*Once again, please note this article is purely meant for entertainment and the conversation it can create. Chris Shepherd may or may not actually believe anything above. By looking at current events through alternative viewpoints we hope to come away with a better understanding of what we’re seeing by considering something we’ve never considered. Worst case? We have a lot of fun with conspiracy theories and turn on old episodes of the X-Files while wearing our tin-foil hats.