Today is all about the future of the Oakland Raiders. it is the day Jon Gruden officially returns to the Oakland Raiders as head coach.
But this is the Raiders. The past is always part of the deal, especially today. Not only are the day Chucky returns to the Raiders, but it is the 41st anniversary of the Raiders’ first Super Bowl title, a 32-14 beatdown of the Purple People Eaters and the Minnesota Vikings in Pasadena. Our site namesake, Ken Stabler, led the day. So, today is probably the second greatest January 9 in history.
But, no doubt it is a great one. Many of the team’s past stars are beyond thrilled. Former Oakland star cornerback Lester Hayes said he has talked to several former teammates and the idea of Gruden coming back has them doing back flips.
“I started getting calls about last Thursday that this is was probably going to happen,” Hayes told RaidersSnakepit.com in a phone interview. “It just put the biggest smile on my face … I love Coach Jack (Del Rio, who was fired Dec. 31) but Coach Chucky is a super strong hire.”
Hayes counts himself as a friend of Gruden’s. “I know him, I love him.” The former defensive star said what makes him most excited about Gruden returning to Oakland is that he is one of the best offensive minds in the history of the game. Hayes compared Gruden’s offensive chops to former San Diego Chargers’ coach Don Coryell (whose team Hayes had to face twice a year), Former Rams coach Mike Martz and former Green Bay and Seattle coach Mike Holmgren.
“Chucky’s playbook is as big as the New York City phone book,” the colorful Judge Hayes said. “It’s humongous.”
He said the way Gruden will use his running backs and tight ends in the pass game will put a strain on defensive players. “You have to be in mental motion when you go against Coach Chucky,” Hayes said. “His playbook is so advanced. That’s what got me so excited about this.”