Canoeing is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, skills levels, and backgrounds. It’s also a sport that has been around for centuries and has seen many different uses and purposes throughout its history.

Are You Canoeing Back From Italy? is a question that was asked in the 2016 World Cup. The Italian canoe name is one of the most popular ones.

Perhaps more than everything else in the world, Jon Gruden loves football. It hurts him every time he isn’t putting together a game plan, leading a hard-hitting practice, or celebrating a game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

When Gruden was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he blew up Simms, Chris’ phone during his honeymoon and pushed him to cut his vacation in Italy short so he could rejoin the team. What’s even better? The following season wasn’t due for another six months.

Chris Simms was selected by Jon Gruden in 2003.

Jon Gruden will do anything to gain an advantage in the NFL.

Jon Gruden will do anything to gain an advantage in the NFL. Jon Gruden, the former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, watches a game against the Carolina Panthers in 2005 | Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

During his long tenure as an NFL head coach, Gruden has tutored a slew of quarterbacks. Chris Simms, a third-round selection by Gruden’s Buccaneers in the 2003 draft and a backup for most of his seven years in the league, was one of those quarterbacks.

Simms remained on the bench for the most of his first season with Tampa Bay, and he only started two games in 2004. Despite the fact that he only completed 57.5 percent of his throws and threw three interceptions to only one touchdown in his first season, Gruden saw a bright future for the young quarterback out of Texas.

So, ahead of Simms’ third season with the Bucs, Gruden wanted his backup quarterback to be as ready as possible in case he had to step in as the starter.

During the 2005 offseason, Jon Gruden pushed Chris Simms to cut his honeymoon short.

Simms was the No. 2 quarterback on Tampa Bay’s depth chart heading into his third season in the league, behind Brian Griese and ahead of Luke McCown. He thought that as the backup quarterback, he’d have a peaceful offseason, so he planned his wedding with his wife for March of 2005.

Gruden approved the trip at first, but he began to miss Simms almost soon after he departed. In 2019, Simms shared the funny tale on the Dan Patrick Show.

“I’m in Italy right now. Simms started, “I’m not the starter in Tampa, but I believe he sees potential in me to be the starter.”

“OTAs haven’t begun yet. However, back then, Gruden like going out and we would do walkthroughs. He’d have everyone in the building put on defensive jerseys and draw up the cards so we could bring the new men up to speed with the offense. Some of the older quarterbacks were not present or available at the time. So, of course, I sought for his permission before taking my trip. ‘Hey, I’m going on a honeymoon with my wife, and I’ll be returning in two weeks.’

“I’d say around day eight, I notice I have a few voicemails on my phone. Please allow me to check my voicemails. I have four or five, and two of them are from the same day as Gruden. ‘What are you doing, man?’ I hope your honeymoon is going well. I’m looking forward to seeing you when you get back.’ Then, two hours later, he must have left a message asking, “Hey guy, when are you coming back?” I get up the next day [to see another note]. ‘I mean, what exactly are we doing here? Are you returning from Italy by canoe?’ And he simply kept going.

Because I was under a lot of stress, I shortened my honeymoon short. I was completely honest with myself. My wife could see it was bothering me, and I realized I had a chance to be the starter. ‘You know what?’ I said. Honey, the weather isn’t cooperating right now. Let’s get out of here and go back to our apartment.’

Chris Simms

That’s precisely what he did.

In the same season, Simms led the Buccaneers to the playoffs.

Gruden’s coaching strategies in 2005 may have seemed ridiculous at the time, but they may have salvaged the Buccaneers’ season.

Simms stepped into the starting lineup when Griese went down with an injury early in the season. He went on to start ten games for the Buccaneers, helping them to an 11-5 record and a playoff spot. Simms struggled in a 17-10 defeat in the NFC Wild Card round against the Washington Redskins, but guiding Tampa Bay to the playoffs after beginning the season on the bench was remarkable enough.

And if Gruden hadn’t abruptly interrupted his beautiful honeymoon, he may not have been completely prepared for the chance.

Pro Football Reference provided all stats.

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