Inside Jon Gruden’s ‘Maniacal’ Obsession with Football

May 12, 2016   ·     ·   Jump to comments

TAMPA, Fla. — At this hour, a beautiful Florida sunrise is still a promise. The birds have not yet begun to sing.
Down in Islamorada, Jimmy Johnson probably is a few hours away from dropping his first line into the Atlantic Ocean from his boat, 3 Rings. Over in Naples, Mike Ditka likely will not reach for his driver and a tee until well past the time the dew is off the grass. 
Here in Tampa, the parking lot of an office complex is empty and still, except for one car. Inside the building, one man sits in silence. The only light in the office—some would say in his world—is from game tape. It's a cutup of Eli Apple, the Ohio State cornerback who would go to the Giants 10th overall, in press technique.
Jon Gruden, ESPN football analyst and star of Monday Night Football, stares intently.
When he was the head coach of the Raiders and Buccaneers, Gruden famously awoke every morning at 3:17 to the Notre Dame fight song. The alarm clock that played it,...

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