To Truly Understand Jon Gruden's Mind Would Be To Go Mad

When you see Nate Peterman fall into a pond.
When you see Nate Peterman fall into a pond.
Photo: Robert Reiners (Getty Images)

Nathan Peterman, America’s Quarterback and Oakland’s either second or third, is growing on Jon Gruden. Not like Kuato in Total Recall, although that is nice to think about—to be clear, Gruden is Kuato in this scenario; just slap a visor and a critical sunburn on this little guy and it’s easy to see—but in the way that Nathan Peterman was always going to grow on Gruden. That Gruden likes his backup quarterback and very much wants to talk about it wouldn’t be news if it wasn’t just barely August, but it is, and that means we get to talk about it all we want!


Nothing about Gruden’s deliriously oafish and overstated second stint as Raiders coach has been all that surprising, but him proudly and counterintuitively falling in love with an underqualified backup quarterback is perhaps least surprising at all. There is a moment in this, our second Why Your Team Sucks podcast, when Drew and I begin to speculate about why this is happening, and was so obviously going to happen. We pull back, though. That way lies only madness, and we still had to get to the Jaguars.

We were lucky, if that’s the word, that this tranche of the Why Your Team Sucks bottoms is so lushly and fragrantly unpleasant. In a week, we’ll be talking about garden variety mediocre teams, or bad teams trying to become good. For now, though, we have teams whose only real redeeming attributes are that they are not the Arizona Cardinals—the Bucs and their repellent and untouchable franchise quarterback; the smugly, proudly deluded Giants; the aforementioned Raiders and Jags; a Lions team that has only gotten the “unpleasant to be around” part of its Belichick-adjacent cultural reboot correct. These teams, whether they’re yours or not, really do suck. It made our job easier. It made it feel almost righteous.

The Funbag, of course, is the enemy of the righteous, and it is our sworn duty to fight whatever dangerous ideas escape its confines. Its unholy and profoundly unclean contents this week include questions about which film classics cannot and will never be rebooted—I wound up digressing on my longstanding wish for a contemporary reimagining of the 1988 James Caan/Mandy Patinkin non-classic Alien Nation—how many important acronyms Donald Trump knows, and Hillary Clinton dunking a basketball. Nothing flashy, just a solid dunk. Something to think about!

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