Being a Raiders fan for 33 years and counting, fact and fiction always seem to be at odds.
Inevitably, it's a result of the man in charge, Al Davis, a very complex man who walks a fine line between insanity and brilliance. However, I find that uncovering "fact" with Al Davis normally always resides outside of the norm and between the headlines.
Many questions have arisen concerning Jon Gruden and his potential return as head coach after his firing from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a week ago. What are the facts, you ask? On the Gruden side of the ship, he has a contract from the Bucs in which he could easily sit out the next two years.
He may also spend that time working in the broadcast booth, or just enjoying time with his young family. But, knowing Jon, he's not one to sit at home and/or sleep past 4 a.m.
Now, what are the facts as far as Davis is concerned? Well, Davis did trade away the last effective Raiders coach to Tampa (notice I didn't say great. You need to win a Super Bowl with the Silver & Black to be called great in my book). Also, Davis hasn’t confirmed Tom Cable as the head coach yet.
Which begs the question, does Davis still believe in Jon Gruden? Based on "factual" quotes from Al Davis, Gruden is in the hunt, even though that hasn't been made explicit yet.
Consider this. Asked whether they might be open to the idea of Gruden filling their coaching vacancy, team spokesman John "Media Lover" Herrera made it clear that reconciliation was out of the question.
"We've been down that road," he said. "That would be reckless speculation to think that that would be any sort of a possibility."
Does Art Shell ring a bell, Mr.Herrera?
A link at the Q&A session Davis conducted after the firing of "Lance" Kiffin earlier this year, which allowed Cable to step in. It's also a very candid look at a man who is still very much in command at the helm and could live to be 103, provided he carries his mom's genes and stem cell research continues.
From that interview is the most recent reference to Gruden by Davis:
DAVIS: Jon. You’ve got to make your own decision. Jon was a good coach. But don’t forgot, I took Jon, no one else even knew who he was. Jon’s first two years, he was in tough. He won a big game that kept him alive. You know which game that was? Kansas City…that’s pretty good. You ought to be over here with us...The Tuck Game was the undoing of a lot of things
So while Herrera says one thing, the fact is that Davis still holds a good impression of Gruden, as does Gruden of Davis, according to his book "Do You Love Football?"
Therefore, the possibility does exist of Gruden coming back.
Or does it?