Offensive Coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals
Jay Gruden is in his second season as Bengals offensive coordinator, following a 2011 campaign in which his young unit’s performance far exceeded most analysts’ forecasts.
Rookie QB Andy Dalton became an instant standout in Gruden’s system, fueling the team’s drive to the playoffs by leading four wins featuring fourth-quarter comebacks. The team had a total of five such comebacks, as backup QB Bruce Gradkowski led one after Dalton was injured.
Rookie WR A.J. Green was also an instant success, leading all NFL rookies in receptions (65) and receiving yards (1057). Dalton and Green became the first QB-WR duo to play in the Pro Bowl as rookies, and second-year TE Jermaine Gresham also prospered in Gruden’s system, earning a Pro Bowl berth as he bettered the good numbers he had posted as a rookie.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis credited Gruden’s offensive system with helping Dalton, a second-round draft choice, enjoy success from the outset.
“We are much more simple (compared to pre-2011) in our scheme for the quarterback,” Lewis says. “We are not reinventing the wheel against every new defense we face. Jay sees the offense through the quarterback’s eyes, and it’s a case of building from week to week, rather than starting over. The quarterback has a lot of leeway in the things he can call, and Jay recognized that Andy was the type of player who could use those options effectively.”
Prior to joining the Bengals, Gruden coached for seven seasons (2002-08) in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, earning a Super Bowl championship ring in 2002. He also ranks among the most outstanding players and coaches in the history of the Arena Football League, having won four league championships as a quarterback and two as a head coach. In 18 AFL seasons as a player and head coach, he never missed the playoffs.
In 2010, Gruden was head coach and general manager of the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League, leading the Tuskers to the UFL championship game.
Gruden played four seasons at QB for the University of Louisville (1985-88), including three years as the starter. He was a two-time team MVP and left the program ranked fourth in Cardinals history in completions (572), passing yards (7024) and touchdown passes (44). He played QB in the Arena League for six seasons (1991-96) with the Tampa Bay Storm, winning four AFL titles and posting numbers as the league’s all-time leading passer.
He was head coach for the AFL’s Orlando Predators for nine seasons (1998-2001 and 2004-08). He led the team to four championship game appearances, with two league titles, while compiling a 93-61 record (.604 winning percentage). During a two-year hiatus from coaching the Predators, in 2002-03, he returned to the playing field as Orlando’s QB, leading two playoff seasons. He was elected in 1999 to the AFL Hall of Fame.
In 2002, Gruden accepted a position as an offensive assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, taking on a dual role as he also continued his AFL exploits during NFL offseasons. He worked for seven seasons at Tampa Bay under his brother Jon, who was Bucs head coach. He contributed to three division championship seasons, including the 2002 campaign that saw the Bucs defeat Oakland 48-21 for a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII.
Gruden was born March 4, 1967 in Tiffin, Ohio. He and his wife, Sherry, have three sons — J.J., Joey and Jack.