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September 15, 2003|Larry Stewart

What: "NFL Films Presents: Gruden Roundtable, Part I."

Where: ESPN2, today, 4 p.m.

Coaches have been wearing microphones for NFL Films for 40 years. The result has been sound bites that are hysterical. When coaches aren't yelling at officials, they're yelling at their assistants, knowing they have to listen.

Now imagine sitting a coach down at a table so that he can watch himself going nuts. Have the cameras rolling to get his reactions. And to add to the fun, have a group of his assistant coaches sitting at the same table.

NFL Films came up with the idea of doing this, and the result is a highly entertaining two-part special for its "NFL Films Presents" series on ESPN2.

With the intense and animated Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sitting in the hot seat, NFL Films President Steve Sabol serves as the moderator for this round-table discussion, which includes six members of Gruden's staff who specialize in offense.

The show features a lot of head-shaking, smiles and laughs as the group listens to Gruden ranting and raving during the Super Bowl.

At one point Gruden is shown yelling into his microphone at young offensive quality control coach Jeremy Bates in the press box. "Jeremy, help me out here, talk to me. ... Jeremy hurry up. ... Are you guys up there? Jeremy, get over the hysteria!"

But there's a lot more to the show than Gruden yelling.

It also lets viewers into the inner circle of an NFL team, where they learn, among others things, that whatever is said in the heat of battle is not to be taken too seriously.

"I get very angry, but these guys are my good friends and they understand that's just how I get sometimes," Gruden says.

In the end, the affection the coaches at the table feel for each other comes through loud and clear.

-- Larry Stewart

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