While Jon Gruden’s sideline anger has been masked (maybe not as often as it should be) in 2020, it’s that flamboyant streak on the sideline that earned the Raiders head coach his nickname.
Gruden is sometimes known as “Chucky,” after the character in the horror movie series “Child’s Play.” Gruden’s expressions combined with his red-tinged hair make it a relatively simple leap, although Gruden isn’t homicidal like the Chucky character was. It’s a nickname Gruden had bestowed upon him more than 20 years ago, when he was in his first year as head coach of the then-Oakland Raiders.
Here’s more about how Gruden got his nickname.
Why is Jon Gruden nicknamed ‘Chucky’?
According to a Gruden interview with Sports Illustrated in 2002, it was Raiders running back Harvey Williams who gave him the nickname. Gruden was especially mad at Williams, and Williams decided that Gruden reminded him of the Chucky character.
Here’s how Gruden described what made him mad to SI: “He went the wrong way on an audible. Ninety-six is to the right, 97 is to the left: We called a 96, he went 97. The guy went the other way. Of course there were only five major television networks at the game, 70,000 fans there booing. Sorry for getting upset. Gee. Next thing I know, a newspaper has a picture of Chucky next to a picture of me. Next thing I know, no one knows my name anymore.”
The Child’s Play series came out in 1988, so it took a full decade for it to ruminate in the public’s mind before Gruden was given his nickname. Gruden eventually bought into the nickname, and when he interviewed quarterback prospects for ESPN for a number of years, he had a Chucky doll on his shelf.
After one 2018 game, Gruden even referred to his alter ego as such, ending an answer about a run being called back with, “Chucky came out for a brief moment tonight.”
Who is Chucky?
Charles Lee “Chucky” Ray is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the Child’s Play horror film series. Chucky is the spirit of a dead serial killer which inhabits a “Good Guy” doll and tries to transfer his spirit back into a human body.
Here’s a side by side of Gruden and Chucky, if you’re curious.
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