With his team set to kick off training camp next week, new Raiders coach Jon Gruden decided to end his summer with a bang on Friday by throwing a party that included hundreds of football fans.
Gruden and the Raiders rented out a sports bar near Oakland and invited fans to show up with the promise that the team would provide free food, free non-alcoholic drinks and free music. If you offer free anything, people are going to show up, and this offer turned out to be so popular that the location of the party — famed Raiders hangout Ricky’s Sports Theatre and Grill — was basically filled to capacity the entire night.
The bar’s owner told the San Jose Mercury News that “well over 500 fans” attended the event.
Not only did the fans in attendance get a free meal, but most of them got a chance to meet Gruden, who apparently made it his goal to take a picture with everyone in attendance.
Gruden showed up in dozens of selfies that were posted to Instagram.
The Raiders coach appeared to spend some serious time walking around and meeting with fans.
Not only was Gruden taking pictures with fans, but he was also signing autographs.
The Raiders coach signed everything from footballs to hats to Chucky dolls, which was kind of fitting since Gruden has an uncanny resemblance to the doll from “Child’s Play.”
Gruden was the star of the show at the party, with fans going crazy when he arrived.
At the one point during the event, Gruden grabbed a mic and did his best to psych Raiders fans up for the 2018 season.
For the event, Gruden encouraged to fans to show up with their family, which is probably why Gruden brought several members of his clan. Remember that free music that was playing? It came courtesy of DJ Mike Gruden, who just happens to be the coach’s son.
Besides Gruden, there were plenty of other members of the Raiders organization who attended the event, including owner Mark Davis and general manager Reggie McKenzie. Several Raiders legends also showed up, including Bill Romanowski and Cliff Branch.
If the Raiders’ 2018 season ends up being just half as successful as Friday’s party, then there’s a good chance we’re going to be seeing Oakland make a return to the playoffs after missing out last year.
The Raiders’ season will get off to its unofficial start on Monday when the team’s rookies report for training camp in Napa, California. The team’s veterans will then follow suit on and report on Thursday.
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