Sometimes, change being thrust upon a person brings out the best in them, and takes them to a place where they find skills they didn't even know they had.
Jon Gruden is one of these guys.
Much like Jeff Van Gundy's coaching in and subsequently covering the NBA, Gruden had been grinding (Gruden Grinder!) his whole adult life to get to the apex of the NFL head coaching fraternity, and certainly he was widely considered one of the best, even after he was fired by Tampa Bay after the 2008 season.
Change was thrust upon Gruden and he adapted, becoming one of the voices of Monday Night Football and one of the faces of ESPN's NFL coverage. Now, again like Van Gundy in the NBA, I'll be legitimately pissed off if Gruden ever decides to re-enter coaching, I enjoy him that much on TV.
And I love that Gruden's schedule allows him the flexibility to speak for certain products and establishments, like, say....HOOTERS!
Now, consider that Hooters is in the fight of its life right now for market share in the sports-beer-breast business sector. In recent years, they've been caught or even surpassed in many local markets by places like Twin Peaks and copycatted by places like Wolfie's and other local establishments whose home uniforms are some variation of the butt hugging cut offs and low cut shirt.
Sure, those places all respect Hooters as the trail blazer, but in the modern era, they're all trying to do it better. In many ways, Hooters is the Ric Flair of sports-beer-boob establishments -- widely respected, still highly relevant, but in some ways a little caricature-ish.
(For the record, I am still a huge fan of both Ric Flair and Hooters. Let this be known.)
So how do you spice up the marketing pitch, if you're the orange-and-white? Well, you get Jon Gruden doing Gruden things amidst a slow motion forest of bouncing breasts, and you remind people that football season is nigh!
That's a pretty good start, at least, and that's what Hooters did, with maybe their finest marketing effort yet. This video is simple, it's supple, and it's positively Gruden.
Let's take a look....
So many highlights, let's identify via Zapruder method....
0:08 -- Oh it's Gruden's voice, and he's saying the word "football." Pavlovian. August. Wood.
0:14 -- Drums and bongos and other tinny instruments bang away as we get a slow motion walk down a dark runway from several Hooteristically clad babes. It's like Reservoir Dogs had a visual baby with a bawdy spring break movie and made it into a Titantron. Exact same thing.
0:22 -- Our first full length shot of Gruden, whose outfit is one big sartorial heat check. How else do you explain a Hooters visor, an untucked Hooters golf shirt spilling over Gurden's underrated beer gut, and the hair...my God, the hair. If you look carefully, you can see the think bubble over Gruden's head saying "Wait, so I make more now than I did as a coach, and I get to do this? This beats the ever loving hell out of having to get in Brad Johnson's face (mostly because his face sits atop his long giraffe neck and I need a fire truck ladder to get into his face)."
0:25 -- "Can you act quickly?"...and then Gruden starts making freaky noises and body gestures. It's about here when I wish that they'd hired Jerry Jones to do these commercials. There would be significantly more groping.
0:30 -- "Bring it in here, that's good...Hooters on three..." Gruden Think Bubble: "God, you guys smell so much better than Warren Sapp...hell, a portalet at an outdoor truck rally in August smells better than Warren Sapp...."
0:34 -- The first of what will be several scenes with slow motion bouncing breasts disguised as "drills that will nurture better serving skills." This one is some sort of footwork drill, and naturally the video is showing exactly zero feet. Hell, these girls could have prosthetic limbs for all we know.
0:40 -- Oh wait, nope. Real limbs...attached to their real butts....which we are getting a real shot of now....
0:46 -- Nice hands...no, seriously, they caught the ball! NICE HANDS! I swear I'm not being snarky!
0:55 -- Our first set of actual Gruden-directed drills, in which the servers need to run through tires to get wings and beer to hungry
horny customers. By the way, two things here:
1. If the NFL Network (or perhaps the Food Network....or perhaps Cinemax) want to organize a Hooters style combine with events like this for servers, I would gladly help produce it, publicize it, and provide color analysis.
2. They need a set of people with broomsticks with fake groping hands swiping at these girls to more accurately simulate a rabid, drunken Sunday at Hooters, kind of like George Whitfield thrashing away at Johnny Manziel with actual brooms while they're practicing on the beach.
1:08 -- Flirtatious Gruden. Underrated.
1:15 -- More slow motion boobs disguised as drills....
1:21 -- The girls are gathered around a kneeling Gruden who has a handheld miniature white board. He quizzes the girls about the serving order, or something, but I choose to believe he's scribbling his phone number on the clipboard and a hastily scrawled out "WHO WANTS SOME???" with an arrow pointed at his crotch.
1:38 -- Gruden gives a buxom young brunette a play that presumably involves copious amounts of running, cutting, and jiggling.
1:46 -- She stops to sign a calendar from a planted fan and the ball sails over her head. This is where we needed one of the blonde servers to take a football to the nose and reenact the Brady Bunch scene where Marcia takes a pigskin off of her proboscis. That would've taken the Pendergast Zapruder score of this video from a 12.34 to a 15.62 (on a scale of 1 to 10).
1:53 -- Sidling butt shot...
2:04 -- A dozen girls in low cut tight t-shirts and butt hugging shorts bent over at the knees. This video officially has the clever subtlety of an episode of Three's Company.
2:20 -- Selfie with Joey Chestnut! And the first thing I think of is "Damn, I haven't been to a Hooters during the 'era in which selfies are socially acceptable'!" Then the next thing I think is "Wait, did I just call selfies 'socially acceptable'?" The next thing I think is where can I hit myself in the junk with a hammer.
2:23 -- For about the next twenty seconds we are going to get a few of the most spectacular episodes of Crazy Gruden Eyes that you will ever see, made even better when you consider that the solo shots of Gruden's face screaming "NICE JOB LADIES!!" and "THERE'S NO ICE SKATING ON SUNDAYS!!" feel totally edited in, like they had to ask him to do them after the video's initial edit was done. I can imagine the conversation...
PRODUCER #1: "We need something here..."
PRODUCER #2: "Hmmmmm....yeah....."
PRODUCER #1: "I GOT IT! We will have Coach Gruden look like he's coked up and have him make fun of figure skating, maybe even have him cackle maniacally!"
PRODCUER #2: "Lawrence, you're a genius!!"....(gets on speakerphone)...."Marjorie, get me my coke dealer on line 1, STAT!"
2:48 -- Gruden pep talk, and I really want to see the America's Game for Tampa Bay's Super Bowl to see if his pre game speech mirrors this at all.
In conclusion, I implore all 32 NFL owners, you can have your overpriced preseason tickets, your completely draconian security measures, and your antiquated blackout rules...please, please, PLEASE keep your hands off of Jon Gruden. The television watching world needs him.
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Hooters needs him.
(h/t Awful Announcing)