“I never wanted to leave the Raiders,” Gruden said. “I never thought I’d be back. But here I am, and I’m ready to get to work.”

He’s spent the last nine seasons making us laugh on Monday Night Football. Gruden stayed true to form and gave us some instant classic quotes during his introductory press conference on Tuesday.

“I don’t have a guarantee to be alive for 10 years, just so people know.”

Last month, Atlanta owner Arthur Blank, the chairman of the league’s compensation committee, told me he believed the Goodell extension absolutely would get done. Another source said he believes Goodell could sign it at any time but has some minor points in the deal he still wants to address.

Jones is a leader and probably the leader against the extension, or at least against the extension in the way it has been presented. In the Wickersham/Van Natta story, Jones was quoted as saying the Goodell contract “is the most one-sided contract ever.” Goodell made about $65 million in salary and benefits in 2014 and 2015, and Jones said he wanted Goodell’s salary to be more incentive-based.

Newton put the ball where it needed to be, and the Saints’ coverage somehow left one of Carolina’s top targets with single coverage in the end zone; Funchess just failed to get to it. The rangy receiver, who had battled a shoulder injury late in the season, would later tell reporters he’d lost the ball in the Superdome’s lights.

One play later, the Panthers’ fourth-down Hail Mary was erased by a Saints’ blitz and a punishing sack from safety Vonn Bell. Game, and Panthers’ season, over.

Of course, the Panthers had several other opportunities to help their effort before the final two-minute warning. Newton himself declined to blame the loss on any one play, including his controversial grounding call.

Pretty eventful weekend. ESPN reported 17 owners held a conference call to discuss blocking commissioner Roger Goodell’s five-year contract extension. Two Texans players, in open rebellion against owner Bob McNair for what they felt was equating them to inmates, went on a wildcat strike for a day. The Browns lost in London, falling to 1-23 since passing on Carson Wentz, 0-8 since passing on Deshaun Watson. Defending rushing champ Ezekiel Elliott ran roughshod over Washington, then awaited word in New York this week whether he’d be suspended for six games.wings_1038