Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, like all Americans, has had to deal with the anxiety and uncertainty of living through the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike most Americans, however, Gruden had a plan to, as he put it, to “crush this virus” and “beat it into the ground.”
Gruden’s first move against the virus was a tactically brilliant decoy maneuver, one so well-crafted that Sun Tzu himself would have been impressed. In August, Gruden faked out both his own players and the dreaded virus itself by briefly pretending to have been hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms:
Having struck a decisive blow against the virus before the NFL season even began, Gruden spent Week 1 and Week 2 prowling the sideline with his protective face mask pulled down below his nose and mouth, perhaps as a way to taunt and destabilize his unseen enemy. After last night’s game, though, Gruden was forced to reveal a shocking twist in his battle against the virus.
After being asked about his inability to keep his mask over his nose and mouth, Gruden admitted that he has, in fact, previously been infected by the coronavirus. “I’m doing my best, you know I’ve had the virus, I’m doing my best,” the coach said.
Could it be? Has the man who stepped up to face the coronavirus in combat in fact been cut down by the disease? Was our hero forced into retreat?
Or, perhaps, this is just Gruden’s latest tactical pivot, and he is once again pretending to have caught the virus in order to further confuse his adversary. Oh, Jon Gruden, you sly fox. You’ve got ’em right where you want ’em now.