INDIANAPOLIS — Jon Gruden knows a little something about Eagles fans, having spent three seasons (1995-97) in Philadelphia as the Birds' offensive coordinator under Ray Rhodes. It was always smooth sailing with the folks in the 700 level. But when the new Raiders head coach was asked Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine about the Eagles' Super Bowl win, his first thought was with the Philly faithful.
"I was just happy for the Eagles fans, those people deserve that, it was really cool," he said.
Chucky’s praise was not reserved for the folks in the seats. He also has a lot of respect for the job Howie Roseman did putting together this team.
“I asked our people in our organization, how did they do that? Some of the trades they made," Gruden said, "some of the free agent acquisitions that they made paid off beautifully.”
Gruden left the Eagles in 1997 to take his first head coaching gig in the NFL in Oakland. He was traded from the Raiders to the Buccaneers in 2002 and Eagles fans have a pretty good idea how that season turned out. Out of coaching since 2008, the 54-year-old is back with the Silver and Black for a second stint and he's taken keen notice of what his contemporary, Doug Pederson, was able to pull off this season.
It will be interesting to see if the analytics-averse Gruden can recapture the success he had in Oakland and the early years in Tampa. His Raiders will not meet the Eagles in the regular season, but he’s thinking of you, Eagles fans.