Jon Gruden met with the media on Wednesday at the NFL Combine, in his Raiders polo — 2018 version — which still takes some getting used to. He was asked about how much he plans to use the technology and analytical advancements that have been incorporated into the modern NFL since he last coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008, and the short answer is: not much.
“I’m trying to throw the game back to 1998,” he said with a smirk.
“Really, as a broadcaster I went around and observed every team, asked a lot of questions, took a look at the facilities, saw how they were doing business. There’s a stack of analytical data — or day-ta, however you want to say that word — and people don’t even know how to read it. It’s one thing to have the data — or day-ta. It’s another thing to know how to read the damn thing.
“I’m not going to rely on GPSes and all the modern technology. I will certainly have some people that are professional that can help me from that regard but I still think doing things the old-fashioned way is a good way. We’re going to try to lean the needle that way a little bit.”
That’s an interesting answer because it stands in stark contrast to how Gruden has said he will approach the other major change that has proliferated football in his decade in the booth — the hurry-up, no-huddle offense.
Gruden’s answer above was enlightening because it provokes an interesting question. There’s been an avalanche of data pouring into NFL (and college) facilities everywhere over the past few years. Is it just Jon Gruden that doesn’t know how to turn that data — or day-ta — into useful coaching points, or did he come to that conclusion because he saw coaches across the league that didn’t know what to make of it?