The Raiders are rolling after a 33-22 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7
What a difference two weeks make Raider Nation. The Las Vegas Raiders were sitting at 3 wins and 2 losses and things looked like they were starting to slip away on the 2021 season. They had just come off a disappointing 20-9 home loss to Matt Nagy and the Chicago Bears who were starting rookie quarterback Justin Fields.
Then the next week, now former head coach Jon Gruden was the main attention in the sports media, but it foreshadowed an unhappy ending for a man with a great track record of head coaching success. The NFL launched an investigation into emails sent by Gruden back in 2011 to former Washington Football team President Bruce Allen.
NFL players Association president DeMaurice Smith was mentioned in the email in which Gruden wrote that Smith had, “lips the size of Michelin tires.” This email was written back in 2011 when Gruden was employed by ESPN. The NFL took offense to the email and on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, Jon Gruden announced he would resign as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders due to, “racist, homophobic, and misogynistic comments left in that 2011 email.”
“I don’t think he (Smith’s) dumb. I don’t think he’s a liar,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “I don’t have a racial bone in my body, and I’ve proven that for 58 years.”
After the apology and his resignation, it was time to get back to work in preparing for the Raiders road game against the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium on Sunday, Oct 17. That same day on Oct, 12, it was announced that special team’s coordinator and assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia would become the team’s interim head coach for the remainder of the 2021 NFL season.
Bisaccia has 20 years of NFL coaching experience all under Jon Gruden as a head coach. His first stint as Gruden’s assistant head coach and special team’s coordinator came from 2002-2008 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (he stayed on until 2010), and then with the Oakland/ Las Vegas Raiders from 2018 to Oct. 2021. Bisaccia previously coach in the NCAA, but has never been a head coach in the NFL. Now, this is his potential “dress rehearsal” with the Raiders to see if he will earn the permanent head coaching gig, or at least be a head coaching candidate with the other teams in the league.
“It’s easy to get emotional … this is certainly an exciting moment,” said Bisaccia, whose first NFL job was under Gruden in 2002, when he was hired as special team’s coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“No one wants to be a head coach in this particular situation, no one wants to be put in front of this under these particular circumstances. But it’s an incredible opportunity, not only for me, but for all the other coaches to see what we can do with this adversity, see what we can do with this challenge.”
Since taking over for Gruden, the Raiders are currently 2-0 under Bisaccia and are 5-2 after coming off a 33-22 home win over the Philadelphia Eagles led by first year head coach Nick Sirianni and second year quarterback Jalen Hurts.
The Raiders will have a bye this week before heading on the road to take on the New York Giants who just won their last game 25-3 over Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.