An anonymous internet soul or group has rocketed into the ranks of some historically savage NFL fans, creating a simple – but remarkably ruthless – countdown clock of Gruden’s remaining 10-year deal with the Raiders. Registered and created on Oct. 10 (which was before Sunday’s meltdown against the Seattle Seahawks) the tick-tocking platform is a straightforward page with a blunt domain name: isgrudengoneyet.com.
It features only four bits of information:
1. A title: “Is Gruden gone yet?”
2. A giant, capitalized answer: “NO”
3. A clock that is mercilessly timing out, counting down what is presumed to be the number of years, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds (!) of Gruden’s contract in Oakland.
4. And for good measure, it includes a salary tracker that calculates: the amount of money Gruden has theoretically banked from the Raiders; the amount of money he’s still theoretically owed; and the amount of money he has theoretically earned in the precise amount of time a visitor has been on the web page.
As fan trolling goes, it gets high marks for simplistic entertainment value. It’s not the age-old taunt of showing up to games wearing a grocery bag on your head. Nor is it the brutally invasive approach of flying a banner over a stadium or paying for freeway signage near the team’s headquarters. But in the digital age, it’s effective because it provides the few pieces of information that were destined to follow Gruden the rest of his coaching life – whether he succeeded or failed in Oakland.
That crazy length of his contract (which he has sort of denied). That jaw-dropping $100 million salary figure (which he has also sort of denied). And the one question that will either define his failure, or serve as an opportunity for him to fire back at critics through some smirking success:
Is Jon Gruden gone yet? Nope. He’s here for the long-haul.
But so are those who will be watching his every move and calculating the exact price the Raiders have paid, right down to the pennies spent and seconds invested.
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