The NFL Coaching Failson Bar Has Been Lowered

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The NFL coaching ranks are filled with failsons.* Always have been, of course, but it feels especially acute these days. In just the last week or so, we’ve seen: the Rams hire Wes Phillips, son of Wade (and grandson of Bum); three different Belichicks on one staff; that same team hire Mick Lombardi, son of Mike; the Raiders close in on hiring Brian Callahan, son of Bill, a week after Callahan fils was fired as Lions QB coach after a season in Detroit that would make anyone without literal coach blood unemployable for a while; and the Jets hire Blake Williams, who has nine years of NFL coaching experience, we’re told, but also that he “has worked only for NFL teams on which his father [Gregg] was on the staff.”

*All sons are to be considered failsons until they prove otherwise.

What, exactly, is the thought process that leads to the assumption that the son of a coach will make a good coach himself? Osmosis from a playbook stuck in the crib? Some still-unidentified sequence of DNA, passed along the Y chromosome, that makes being a control freak an inheritable trait? A pre-acceptance of the normality of being completely unable to have a healthy home life? Readers, I have no answers for you. I just want to prepare you for the near future in which NFL coaching staffs are made up entirely of coaches’ sons, and football coaches become like the kohanim of the Jewish Temple period, a hereditary, priestly caste completely closed to those without the correct bloodline. Personally, I blame the Shulas.


What was this blog about again? Oh right: Saturday morning at 2:15 a.m., Skins video assistant Jack Gruden—yes, son of head coach Jay Gruden, and nephew of Jon—was arrested in Ashburn, Va., and charged with being drunk in public.

According to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, Gruden was separated by police from a verbal confrontation with another party. Ten minutes later, he was separated from another argument with a different party. At that point, according to the police report, Gruden promised the officer he would call a ride home. He did not. A few minutes later, police say Gruden got into a third argument, with an entirely new party. He was arrested, transported to a detention center, and later released on a personal recognizance bond. He has a hearing scheduled for March 21.


The arrest took place at the One Loudoun bar-and-restaurant district, which to my understanding is a depressing exurban simulacrum of an urban center, or a slightly less exotic, less drunken Epcot. It’s also where Skins safety Montae Nicholson was arrested in December and charged with assault after allegedly knocking out a man in a drunken brawl outside the World of Beer.

Gruden, 22, just finished his first season with Washington as a video assistant in charge of filming games and practices. Prior to that, he had served as a volunteer assistant on his dad’s staff.

In a statement, Skins flack Tony Wyllie said: “We are aware of the arrest of Jack Gruden. We are gathering more information and will not comment until we have further details.”