Big news in broadcasting today as ESPN announced it has signed MNF analyst Jon Gruden to a five year "exclusive" deal that will keep him out of coaching and off the sidelines for the length of the deal. The deal starts in 2012, so that means you'll be hearing "THIS GUY" through the 2016 season. Below are quotes from ESPN Executive VP Norby Williamson and Gruden himself on the extension...
"Our Monday Night Football crew is special, and to have the opportunity to continue to be a part of this team, working these big-time NFL prime time games every week on ESPN, I’m fired up," - Jon Gruden
“Jon has made a remarkable transition from Super Bowl-winning head coach to one of the premier football analysts in our business. His long-term commitment to ESPN will continue to elevate our Monday Night Football presentation and we look forward to finding even more opportunities to take advantage of his passion for football and unique insights into the game.” - Norby Williamson
We poke fun at Gruden's "this guys" and constant praise for everyone that enters an NFL stadium, but hopefully this decision to stay in the booth for an extended period of time will give him the freedom to be a bit more cutting in his analysis. Whether you love or hate Gruden as an analyst, the games are more interesting with his energy and unique personality. Crappy MNF games (Jets/Dolphins, hello!) don't help, but Gruden brings insight and enthusiasm to the booth. He has the potential to be this generation's John Madden with ESPN's multiplatform capabilities including Gruden's QB Camp, and his enjoyable work on the NFL Draft.
I like Gruden in the booth and think he adds something to Monday Night Football at ESPN. It's a coup for the leader to sell the "exclusiveness" of the deal as it will apparently lock him in the booth for the foreseeable future.
And, it means Gruden will be a perennial contender for the Dickies! That's a not so subtle way to promote our NFL Pammy Awards, so tweet and comment your best Grudenisms to us tonight!
And, most of all, it's five more years of chances for Gruden to say the name SAN-ZEN-BACH-ER!!!