Jon Gruden may or may not be a “rental announcer” (I actually discussed this on air today; hello, irony) now that he’s replaced Tony Kornheiser on Monday Night Football — it’s entirely possible that ESPN is just using him this year as a placeholder for … *gasp* … Matt Millen.
But regardless, he’s replacing Mr. Tony in the booth and we all win as a result. It’s not an insult to TK (well, okay, it kind of is) but he’s just not great on MNF. Gruden, on the other hand, should be. And he got on the horn with his new partner up there, Mike Tirico on ESPN Radio, to talk about his new gig. How’d ESPN get that scoop?!? Gruden also talks Favre and Vick to get his sleeves rolled up. Or something like that.
On diving into the “deep end” of the announcing business:
“You know me well enough to know that I love football. Man, I just love it. And you can’t say enough about Monday Night. Growing up as the son of a coach in Ohio and Indiana, my brothers and I used to fight to see if we could stay up and see the second half. And being a coach in the NFL for the last 18 or 19 years, these are the games I’ve really looked forward to. I know the players do, the fans do; Monday Night Football is in my blood. I just don’t want to screw it up, Mike. I want to be a big part of the team. I know you and Jaws are two of the best and certainly I have some big shoes to fill.”
On settling into the media world:
“You know what? This is the first time in 23 years of my life that I’ve had a chance to even consider doing anything but coach. What I’ve found here in the last couple months is that there are other things going on in the world other than drawing plays at 4 in the morning. This is the closest thing there is to coaching … I’m going to stay short-term focused, committed, doing the best that I can and I just want to deliver for the fans.”
On what he’ll bring that’s missing from MNF:
“Hopefully a perspective from a coach; maybe a situation or an explanation. A critique of a certain play or player’s performance. Maybe a matchup that’s critical in the football game.”
Listen to Jon Gruden on ESPN Radio with Tirico and Van Pelt (6:55 into podcast)