You know who's an outstanding football player? One of the best in the NFL, at any position? One of the great stories in the league, as he went from the 240th pick a few years ago to 12 receptions in his first two seasons combined to back-to-back 1,100+ yard seasons and a Pro Bowl? You know who had a great night in one of the most bonkers prime time games in memory, with 10 receptions on 18 targets, 105 yards and a 4th quarter touchdown? Darren Waller, that's who.
He's the sort of tight end that every coach in football is imagining he has when he's curled up in his wife's arms smiling and she says, "What are you thinking about?"
You know who is also not anywhere close to being the best player Jon Gruden has ever coached? I'll leave that as a rhetorical, since you know where I'm going with this.
Just to offer up a short list of players Jon Gruden has coached, I'll just stick to the ones who are in the Hall of Fame:
- Jerry Rice
- Tim Brown
- Brett Favre
- Warren Sapp
- Ronde Barber
- Derrick Brooks
- John Lynch
- Charles Woodson
He also coached Rich Gannon, who went to a Pro Bowl under him, then won the MVP the year after Gruden left. But OK. His tight end who's had two exceptional seasons and probably began his third straight last night is better than all of them.
And honestly, it's one of the things I love about Gruden. Some guys have no filter. He's got one that goes 24/7 and never gets changed. And it's permanently set to "Superlative." It's what made him special on TV. That constant need to bullshit us that everything we're seeing is something the likes of which no human eyes have ever witnessed before. No praise is too effusive. No claim too exaggerated. No compliment too over-the-top.
In this case, it's good to know that they took the man out of the Monday Night Football booth, but they couldn't take the Monday Night Football booth out of the man. A word of advice to Waller, get ahold of your agent and get him on the phone to Mike Mayock, poste haste.