ALAMEDA, Calif. — It’s common knowledge that most players and coaches are not fans of Thursday Night Football — even if they don’t say it.
But Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said the hush-hush thing out loud during his Monday press conference.
“I hate this. I don’t believe in this Thursday football,” Gruden said. “We take a lot of pride in getting our guys ready to play — we need a little time to do that. But a lot of people disagree with me, obviously.”
Gruden has coached three Thursday games in his career — and lost all three of them. The first came on an ESPN “Thursday Night Special” in December 1999, when the Raiders fell to the Titans 21-14.
Then he coached the Buccaneers to a 38-10 loss to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving in 2006 — a game memorable for being now-CBS broadcaster Tony Romo’s coming out party. He threw five touchdown passes.
Finally last year, Gruden was at the helm for the Raiders’ 34-3 loss to the 49ers in Week 9.
“It hurts us — it hurts both teams,” Gruden said of playing on Thursday.
This week will especially be a challenge considering the Chargers are coming off their best game — a 26-11 victory over the Packers. Pass rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram kept Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers under pressure all afternoon, combining for 3.0 sacks and six quarterback hits.
“They’re two of the best. They’re dynamic players. The effort level that they have is special,” Gruden said. “We’ll have our hands full with them.”
Given how the Raiders struggled against the Packers’ passing game — Rodgers finished with a perfect passer rating for the first time in his career in Week 7 — and how the Chargers dominated it, how did Gruden react to seeing Los Angeles’ 26-11 win on Sunday?
“Makes for a tough, sad day,” Gruden said, eliciting some laughs. “It’s hard — like I said to the team after the game, it’s fun to win but it’s one of these wins we can’t enjoy for very long. It’s a short, short turnaround and before you know it, we’ll be back in the Coliseum playing again.”