It’s Friday, rejoice.
I’m knocking out the mailbag this morning and then immediately pivoting to work on the new book I’m writing that should be out next year. I figured why not go ahead and add another job to my plate since I don’t have enough already?
Also, we have Outkick VIP events coming up in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, New York City and, potentially, Los Angeles depending on how my schedule goes next week. More details on all of those forthcoming, but in order to be invited you have to go sign up here.
Now let’s hit the mailbag.
“What are your thoughts on the Jon Gruden to Tennessee rumors and who do you think gets the job?”
Here’s what I know, back in 2012 Jon Gruden was interested in the job, but he wanted to be wooed and told how incredible he was. And Tennessee had incompetent people at the helm who wouldn’t do what they needed to do to get the deal done.
So we ended up with Butch Jones at Tennessee.
It’s always possible that Gruden is angling entirely for more money from ESPN, but I believe if Tennessee puts the full court press on him, they can get him.
When I say “full court press” I mean Tennessee has to do what Alabama did for Nick Saban, what Ohio State did for Urban Meyer and what Michigan did for Jim Harbaugh. They have to pay him insane money, give him absolute control, and woo the absolute fuck out of him, convincing him that he’s the sun and the moon and the stars of Vol football.
Is Tennessee willing and able to do that?
I have my doubts.
But there are indications that the big money boosters are finally willing to get involved and pay what needs to be paid. I’ve said for over a month now that the Haslam family needs to take charge here and insist that their money go to hire a big name coach. Whether that’s Gruden, Bob Stoops, Chip Kelly, Bobby Petrino, you name it, I’m tired of Tennessee hiring unproven guys. I’ve never understood why you’d put the ceiling on paying a new coach at $4 million or so a year when you could pay $8 million and get a top candidate.
A winning coach ultimately pays for himself. A losing coach ends up costing you much more than you save by not paying him top dollar. Leaving aside the lost revenue in collapsing ticket sales and donations, if Tennessee ends up paying Butch Jones a nearly $9 million buyout it’s going to mean they effectively paid him over $6 million a year.
So why not have just paid a great guy $8 million a year to start?
Tennessee has consistently argued that they will pay a coach top dollar, but they’ve never done it when they hired him. They’ve always hired a mid-tier guy and then bumped up his pay if he’s successful. That’s really only worked once at Tennessee this century — with Bruce Pearl. Otherwise they’ve hired mid-tier coaches and gotten mid-tier results.
Tennessee has top ten money with sub-top 25 results over the past decade and I think if they want to be a top five money program they have to pay a coach to get them top five results.
Now the question becomes — how good would Jon Gruden be as a college coach? He’s been out of coaching for a decade and he hasn’t recruited a college kid since he was at Pittsburgh in 1991. He’s obviously made public comments about how little he likes NCAA rules and complained about the limited number of hours he could work with players. But anyone who thinks Gruden couldn’t recruit is insane. He would be the most famous college football coach in history who has never coached a college football game.
I mean, every recruit in America would know him from his work on Monday Night Football, from the NFL Draft break downs, from his time in the NFL coaching, from his television commercials, and, perhaps most importantly, from his Gruden’s Quarterback Camp.
Put it this way, can you imagine a top high school quarterback not wanting to play football for Jon Gruden? He’s also got infectious enthusiasm and, oh yeah, a Super Bowl ring. A home visit from Jon Gruden would be an event in any neighborhood, he’s not going to be texting recruits at all hours of the day and night.
Remember, Nick Saban has a flip phone, he’s not doing it either.
Recruits are smart, they want to go where they can win and where they can maximize their ability. The guys who have to text recruits all day long are the ones who haven’t produced superstar results.
What’s more, Tennessee has consistently produced top 10-15 caliber recruiting classes over the past twenty years. Do you really think Jon Gruden is going to recruit worse than Derek Dooley and Butch Jones? Much of a program’s recruiting is done by the school itself. There are only so many places with 100,000 seat stadiums, great fan support and tremendous facilities.
The next question asked most frequently is this, why would Gruden do it?
And the answer is pretty simple, I think — because he wants to coach again and he’s tired of doing Monday Night Football. Most people aren’t wired like successful coaches, they are looking for the easiest job that pays the most money. But if that had been the goal, none of these guys would have ever gotten into coaching.
TV’s a great job that pays well, but sooner or later most coaches want to get another challenge. Other than John Madden can you think of a championship winning coach who retired at a young age and never went back to coaching? Maybe Gruden is this generation’s John Madden, but if he’s like most coaches I think he’d like to get back into coaching.
Plus, Gruden’s 54 now, that’s a time when guys start thinking about their legacies. Gruden’s kids are out of the house and starting their own lives. He has time now and if he sits around and thinks about it, is he really beloved anywhere? Maybe in Tampa Bay.
But he’s certainly not a legend.
College football coaches who win big become legends.
Wouldn’t it be an incredible burnishment to his legacy to become the fourth coach in football history to win a Super Bowl and a national title? I’d think it would have some appeal to join Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer and Pete Carroll as the only coaches to have ever pulled this off. And wouldn’t it be cool to become a legend in the state of Tennessee as you made Vol football great again with your son presently a student on campus and your cheerleader wife alongside you?
I’d think so.
Plus, what’s the risk? Say he doesn’t enjoy being a college coach then he can always go back to commentating NFL football games, right?
Finally, if he has an itch to coach I think it’s actually much easier to dominate in college right now than it is in the NFL. Especially in the SEC East.
I said this yesterday on my Periscope and Facebook Live show — sometimes you just want a new challenge. I’m a fraction of as accomplished as Jon Gruden, but I think many successful people are driven differently than the average person. Success isn’t the end goal, it’s the challenge to be successful that drives you.
Many people thought I was crazy when I left 3HL, my radio show, on 104.5 just over three years ago. We were the top rated local sports show in the entire nation and I could have done that job for the next twenty years and continued to dominate at that same level.
But I’m a guy who likes new challenges. I want to see if I can succeed at something else. And I’m in an infinitely stronger position now, three years after leaving a dominant show, than I would have been if I’d stayed at 3HL. But I’m not resting either, I’m waking up at four every morning, grinding away all day long, about to hit publish on this mailbag and dive right into writing a new book.
What motivates me is the challenge to be better today than I was yesterday. Ultimately great competitors aren’t motivated by external factors, the drive is all internal.
Gruden will turn 55 years old this fall which is a year younger than Saban was when he took the Bama job. He’s made a bundle of money over the past decade from Monday Night Football, Corona and Hooters. If money and leisure’s not his driving force — and I wouldn’t think it would be at this point — does he want another challenge and an opportunity to add to his resume?
If he does, Tennessee seems like a great fit.
Plus, it’s awfully flattering to be wanted and I think it’s fair to say Tennessee fans want Gruden badly.
Certainly they’re betting on him, because Gruden’s odds are the only one taking a big dive at the offshore sites.
|44509||Jim Bob Cooter||+1800|
Gruden has dropped from 20-1 to 12-1 in the past couple of weeks.
As I’ve said before my top three candidates would be Gruden, Stoops and Kelly.
Then I’d move to Petrino.
I think the Vols will get one of these four guys, but they have to put the full court press on their top candidates and not half ass this process.
“On Sunday Night Football, Al Michaels made a crack about the New York Giants coming off a worse week than Harvey Weinstein. I was watching, and I immediately recognized that people would not be happy about it. I’m assuming the producer told him to fix it ASAP so he comes back on and apologizes, but not before everybody on Twitter is TRASHING him on Twitter for making light of sexual harassment. However, I didn’t watch but I heard that SNL (also NBC) ripped Weinstein this past week, too. Some of the best satirists have created incredible change through their satire. Sure, joking about Weinstein might not have been an auspicious move for his career, but I don’t think it’s apology worthy. Where’s the line? Why can SNL do something and Al Michaels can’t? And do you think SNL has comedy immunity for any subject?”
One of the worst things about social media is that everyone turned into the worst HR representative imaginable. And even worse than that is that executives listen to the opinion of social media when they make decisions about their top jobs. Social media has taken the balls of top media executives and put them in their purse. They’re always sitting around worrying about what people are going to say.
“Well, why the fuck do you care?”
You didn’t get these jobs because of other people’s opinions, you got it because of your own talents. Trust your own instincts.
I’ve written about this for years, but why is the immediate response when someone sends a Tweet you don’t like or says or writes something that you don’t like that they should be fired? This doesn’t happen in any other job. If Bob in accounting makes a bad joke at lunch he’s probably not getting fired. And certainly the entire office isn’t advocating that someone be fired.
Al Michaels made a clear joke about Harvey Weinstin. IT WAS A CLEAR JOKE! No one actually thought he was saying Harvey Weinstein and the Giants were the same. We like comedians who embrace satire because often that’s the only way to make sense of the world.
I understand why he apologized, but so far in 14 years of writing online and doing daily shows do you know how many times I’ve apologized for what I said or written?
Do you know how many times I’ve been suspended for anything I’ve said or written?
Could I misspeak at some point in time and feel the need to apologize? Sure. But would I ever apologize for something like Al Michaels said or, for instance, for saying I loved the first amendment and boobs? Of course not.
I think that’s one important reason my audience continues to grow and why Outkick has so much loyalty, because in an age when so many people in media are saying what they think you want to hear, I tell you exactly what I think every day.
You may not always agree with me, but I think the majority of Americans favor honesty they disagree with over bullshit.
And much of the media today is complete bullshit.
“I need some help for gambling. Currently I am a sophomore at the University of Northern Iowa with a savings account around $10,000. I pay for 1/3 of all my expenses of all college including tuition, rent, groceries, etc. (I pay for all of my own alcohol, food if I go out to eat, and gas). I don’t have any source of income/job at the moment. I want to get into gambling based on your predictions for college football, however I’m kind of frugal with my money. How much should I bet on each game to maximize returns and minimize losses (although losses are unlikely because you’re the King Solomon of the internet and gambling)?”
Honestly, I wouldn’t gamble if I were you.
What I’d do is make a list of the bets you would have made and keep a ledger to see how you would have fared. This is good practice. I’d advocate, by the way, doing the same thing with stock investments. Practice analyzing stocks before you have the money to put into actual stocks.
I only think you should gamble if you can afford to lose most of the money you gamble and right now you’re a college kid with quite a few expenses. You’ll have several decades ahead of you when you have more disposable income when you can gamble as much as you’d like.
I treat gambling as entertainment. I certainly hope I win money, but I’d rather spend money losing on gambling than I would most other things I could spend money on. Once you become a dad, you don’t spend that much money on yourself; I’ve got three kids and a wife spending my money all day. But I bet I don’t spend $200 a week on myself. Other than buying books on Amazon and maybe a trip to Costco every six weeks, I don’t even remember the last time I bought anything other than food and drink.
So gambling on college football is what I do for fun.
As for how much to gamble, I think you increase the amount you gamble as you earn more money. I’ve never had more than $5k on a game and having that much on a game is rare for me even now. (I had $5k on Titans -6.5 on Monday night, FYI). I’ll have several grand on Bama to cover against Tennessee this weekend and I usually bet a couple of grand on every blood bank guarantee.
It’s hard to win or lose a ton of money if you bet a lot of games and try and keep your bets relatively consistent.
That’s why for a long time the amount I bet was $100 a game. That was because I didn’t have very much money. Now I bet quite a bit more than that, but that’s because my finances have improved.
So for everyone out there without much money of their own, I’d encourage you to wait until you have disposable income to gamble real money.
But if you absolutely insist on gambling, I’d counsel small amounts on parlays. Yes, you are likely to lose that money because the odds aren’t fair, but if you put $50 on a four or five team parlay then you can feel like there’s a real payday that you’re rooting for and it gives you multiple games to follow. I think that’s more fun than putting $10 or $20 on four or five games.