Caldwell, though, had nothing on Jon Gruden. The ESPN analyst was moved by Prater’s effort to exclaim to the “Monday Night Football” audience, “That might be the most dramatic field goal I’ve ever seen made!”
No, Jon, it wasn’t. As a number of people pointed out online, among the NFL jobs Gruden held before joining ESPN was head coach of the Raiders, where he had a front-row seat to a much more dramatic field goal in a 2001 AFC playoff game.
That game became infamous for the invocation of the little-known “tuck rule,” which helped the Patriots defeat the visiting Raiders. Another reason Gruden might prefer to forget that contest was what came shortly after that rule helped New England keep possession in the late stages of regulation, when Adam Vinatieri hit a 45-yard, game-tying field goal.
That field goal, which was followed by an overtime game-winner by Vinatieri from 23 yards out, was made all the more dramatic by all the snow that fell throughout the contest. So, yeah, Prater’s make in a Week 2 Lions-Giants game probably comes in second, at best.
That was the final game Gruden coached for the Raiders, as he was subsequently traded by then-owner Al Davis to the Buccaneers for a huge haul that included two first-round and two second-round draft picks. Gruden immediately went on to win the Super Bowl with Tampa Bay, in the process supplanting the Patriots as NFL champions, and coached there for six more years.
Meanwhile, Prater’s make generated its own well-deserved buzz. As another ESPN employee, NFL reporter Dan Graziano, put it, “That’s about as thrilling as second-quarter field goal attempts get, right there.”
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