Ed Driscoll


THE PERFECT STORM: John Gruden knew so much about his former team and its quarterback “that he designed a perfect game plan that his Tampa Bay Buccaneers used to rout the Oakland Raiders 48-21 in the Super Bowl on Sunday”, according to this AP article:

“Jon Gruden was Gannon,” Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. “Nobody can be like Gannon like Gruden can. He taught Gannon. He was in Gannon’s head.”

Gruden got into Gannon’s wheelhouse so much that the NFL’s MVP threw a season-high five interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns by Tampa Bay’s stifling defense.

In Thursday’s practice, Gruden even took over as quarterback on the scout team and ran several plays.

“The film illustrates that I did complete two or three passes. I was very intimidating under center,” Gruden joked after the game, surrounded by his wife and three young boys.

Peter King adds that he thought Gannon “would play an outstanding game Sunday”:

Gannon was hot going into the Super Bowl. Reigning MVP. Great run in the playoffs. And the way he was abused by the Bucs defense showed just how special the Tampa Bay unit was, and is. Gannon’s first 10 drives:

1. Seven plays, 14 yards, field goal.

2. Three plays, one yard, punt.

3. Three plays, six yards, punt.

4. Three plays, eight yards, interception.

5. Three plays, 11 yards, interception.

6. Three plays, minus-one yard, punt.

7. Six plays, 19 yards, punt.

8. Three plays, four yards, halftime.

9. Three plays, eight yards, punt.

10. Two plays, eight yards, interception.

Score after 10 Oakland possessions: Tampa Bay 34, Oakland 3.

I found it laughable listening to the Raiders after the game passing off the incredible dominance of the Bucs defense as their own deficiency. “It wasn’t their speed,” said Callahan. “It was us not executing.”

“I’m not going to pay their defense any lip service,” said Porter, the Raiders wideout. “It wasn’t their defense. It was us not executing.”

Attention Raiders: You didn’t execute because that defense kicked your rear ends. It’s a pretty simple thing. And now, it’s a defense for the ages.

No wonder Warren Sapp looked like he was beaming enough to light up San Diego, as he pulled an enormous full corona out of its wrapper at the end of his press conference.