Inside Gruden Playing The Rich Gannon Role

December 7th, 2012

Of the seemingly endless public reminiscing and storytelling this week from the 2002 Bucs Super Bowl team, which will gather at Sunday’s Bucs-Eagles game for a 10-year reunion featuring all the big names, perhaps Joe’s favorite nuggets came from Brad Johnson.

The Bucs’ Super Bowl QB painted a different picture of the famous story of Jon Gruden simulating ex-Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon in practice and working with Tampa Bay’s scout team to get the Bucs defense used to Gannon’s tendencies and preferences.

Last night, Johnson told the dean of Tampa Bay sports radio, Steve Duemig of WDAE-AM 620, that Gruden’s quarterback play against the vaunted Bucs defense was more about Gruden wanting to grab the spotlight and keep the team loose.

“John just wanted his moment. He wanted to take over,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Gruden kicked aside Shaun King and Rob Johnson, who were running the scout team, and wanted to call Raiders audibles, but they were unrealistic considering a real game would have had a 40-second play clock.

“It took [Gruden] about a minute and a half to call each play,” Johnson said. “He completed about five or six balls. I think the defense let him complete his balls. … He kept it light that week. He had us dialed in, because he knew all the pressure that was being built up.”

Johnson went on to say Gruden was obsessed with his own game film from that practice as it related to his QB performance.

Johnson also told a personal story of how he and Gruden and Keyshawn Johnson were on the Super Bowl sidelines during the game crafting a play. Johnson said Gruden was barking and he was agonizing trying to memorize it while Keyshawn’s mind was on other things, “Man, doesn’t that popcorn smell good?” Keyshawn said.

Also intriguing, was Johnson talking about hiding injuries from the Buccaneers, saying he would pay his own doctors for medical testing and would demand the Bucs head trainer’s silence on those issues.

Great stuff also came from the Booger and Rich show on 98.7 FM. Here’s a link to a Warren Sapp interview in which Sapp opens up and cries while talking about Joe Jurevicius.

And this was a fun one, Monte Kiffin sat down with Booger and Rich. Kiffin rarely does interviews and it’s always fun to hear his unique voice and energy. Kiffin was very clear that he wants to return to the NFL next season, and he also shared plenty of 2002 memories. Interestingly, Kiffin laughed and explained how he broke various NCAA college coaching rules shortly after he left the Bucs for the University of Tennessee.

10 Responses to “Inside Gruden Playing The Rich Gannon Role”

  1. terry4505 Says:

    Wait… So you are saying Gruden is an ego maniac?

  2. Bobby Says:

    What a great interview with Sapp. Really opened my eyes to how much he loved this game of football, the team and most of all, the men he played with. The part about JJ really choked me up. Really good stuff. Thanks for posting the link Joe.

  3. 507 Bucs fan Says:

    Oh yes keyshawn at his finest.. smelling the popcorn…

  4. Ian P. Says:

    Between the Sapp interview and the Joey J interview yesterday, what really stands out to me is how much these guys really, really love the fans and this city, and how much they appreciate everything WE do. Both men expressed how much they appreciate our support. That’s nice to hear. It’s nice to think that even with all the entertainment they provide to us on Sundays, that we are giving a little something back to them too.

    Maybe we are the best fans in the NFL. Warren Sapp certainly thinks so.

  5. OAR Says:

    Always liked good ole’ boy Brad!
    Gruden and his ego will always be wlecome here. I think its funny how he knew thier player tendacies and thier….er his offense.
    Not the least bit surprising about the Keyshawn quote and story. No wonder Gruden and he didn’t get a long. One lacking passion, focus and commitment, while the other did not!

  6. Eric Says:

    I am shocked that a pro football coach would have a big ego………unheard of.

  7. Eric Says:

    Whats next, narcissistic lawyers?

  8. Jrock Says:

    You are THE BOMB for linking these interviews. I haven’t been able to listen to 98.7 for a few days now and would have totally missed these gems. THANKS JOE!

  9. Bobby Says:

    @Ian P….yes! His passion for the fans was amazing! Shows how important the crowd is and how they’re more than just background noise. These players really appreciate the fans. I remember hearing Mike Williams being asked if he got tired of fans asking for his autograph. He replied “Are you kidding? I am humbled they want MY signature. I love the fans and will always be one.”

  10. Miguel El Magnifico Says:

    Sounds like sour grapes on Brad Johnson’s part. Why would the starting QB in the week before the Superbowl know exactly what is going on during the defensive practices?

    Comments from the defense after the Superbowl indicate that Gruden had taught them the Raider audibles and demonstrated Gannon’s tendencies. For example, when Gannon audibled to a “Sluggo”, the defenders were able to jump those routes and put points on the board.

    Knowing the audibles combined with an incredible pass rush accounted for a historic victory.