The Oakland Raiders made ESPN analyst and former Super Bowl winner Jon Gruden their head coach on Saturday, with an official welcome slated for Tuesday. Gruden last coached in 2008 before getting fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following a 9-7 record. Yawn. Another NFL team hiring a new coach? Pretty boring stuff. It happens every year.
What makes Gruden interesting, though, name recognition aside, is that he’s expected, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, to make $100 million over a 10-year contract.
I’ve written before that we, as a society, care “way too f***ing much about football,” myself included. There are plenty of other things we care too much about and pay too much for, but football is definitely near the top, and Gruden’s reported salary is the epitome of that pigskin gluttony. So with that as a backdrop, here are 10 things you could buy if you had that kind of money.
Four Dassault Falcon 7X private jet airplanes
112,359,551 Snickers bars
202,020 pairs of Big Baller Brand ZO2s
2,234,636 20-week subscriptions to the Washington Post
4,725 pounds of gold
169,505 Wagyu beef whole tenderloins
Vincent Van Gogh’s original “Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers”
7,698,229 bottles of Big Sexy Hair shampoo
870 full-sized 50 kilowatt wind turbines
312,500,000 pounds of flour
One-hundred million dollars could also pay for 4,732 in-state students to attend the University of Florida. Instead, we value a man who hasn’t even coached a football game in the last decade to be worth that much.
Don’t get me wrong — I understand the decision. With the Raiders moving to Las Vegas in the coming years, hiring a known name like Gruden creates buzz, which sells tickets and moves merchandise, which makes owner Mark Davis that $100,000,000 back and then some.
Plus, Gruden isn’t even the highest paid football coach on a per-year basis. The University of Alabama’s Nick Saban makes $11.1 million annually. But Gruden’s $100 million contract isn’t necessarily itself the problem. Rather, it’s emblematic of a larger problem.
It’s the same problem that arises whenever boosters donate massive sums of money to UF or any other college football program: Why — when cancer hasn’t been cured, hunger hasn’t been ended and literacy hasn’t been fully gained — is so much money poured into a new football facility or stadium or coach?
The answer, of course, is investment. College and professional football are both profitable industries, and the money put in will usually be made back with considerable earnings.
But that doesn’t make paying a man $100,000,000 to direct helmeted men on how to best reach or stop its opponents from reaching one end of a 100-yard rectangle any easier to grasp.