Love or Hate Him, Gruden Is Face of Football


Jon Gruden has one of the most recognizable faces in professional football, partly because he hasn’t worn a helmet since 1985, when he began his transformation from feckless college quarterback to triumphant professional coach. In 1998, he was named the head coach of the Oakland Raiders; in 2003, at thirty-nine, he won the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sports Illustrated chronicled his “spectacular” rise, and People anointed him one of the “beautiful people,” although his appearance was more impish than debonair—he was known as Chucky, because of his devilish squint, which made him resemble the psychotic doll from the horror movie “Child’s Play.”

In 2009, after a particularly disappointing season, the Buccaneers fired him, but, instead of moving...

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