When the Oakland Raiders held their massive press conference/celebration announcing Jon Gruden as the team's newest head coach, it was clear that the hire was something that the team had been hoping to make happen for quite a long time. Raiders owner Mark Davis even admitted as much when he stated that the first time he reached out to Gruden about the job was all the way back in 2012.
Mark Davis said his first call to Gruden to discuss coming back to the Raiders came in January 2012.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) January 9, 2018
Wow. Davis says when his dad passed away, he dreamed of teaming Gruden with McKenzie. “It took me six years”— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) January 9, 2018
Davis and the Raiders hired two different full-time coaches between that call and Gruden finally accepting the job: Dennis Allen and Jack Del Rio. Apparently, they were never Davis' first choice. And this time around, nobody else was ever really in the running.
Davis told a group of reporters after the press conference that he essentially got Gruden to agree to coach the team as early as Christmas Eve, after having reached out in October/November. He also stated that he likely would have fired the coordinators and kept Del Rio had Gruden not agreed to the job.
Among other nuggets, Davis said he first sensed Gruden could finally be serious about returning to the Raiders when they met in Florida in late-Oct/early-Nov, during the Raiders' week in Sarasota.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) January 9, 2018
If Gruden hadn't said yes this time, Davis said he probably would've sat down with Jack Del Rio and talked about changing up the coordinators and likely would've kept Del Rio.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) January 9, 2018
I asked Davis if he would've fired Del Rio for Gruden even if this season had gone better. Davis said he didn't know or sure, but probably. He just always wanted Gruden.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) January 9, 2018
Sounds like the final serious discussions with Gruden occurred Christmas Eve, the night before the Raiders-Eagles game that Gruden called for ESPN.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) January 9, 2018
Of course, getting a candidate to agree before you fire the current coach means anyone else that interviewed for the gig never actually had a chance at it. So when the Raiders said that they complied with the Rooney Rule by interviewing Tee Martin and Bobby Johnson, they were really just covering their posteriors. Those guys never had the opportunity, because the job was always going to Gruden or it wasn't going to be open at all.