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Fan reaction: Jon Gruden to Miami bad for Monday Night Football, NFL fans
Several sources, including NFP and ESPN, are reporting that the Miami Hurricanes are pursuing Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden to replace the recently fired Randy Shannon as the program's head football coach. Thus far, Gruden has stated that he plans to stay with ESPN, saying "I am committed to Monday Night Football and to ESPN. I enjoy working with Mike, Jaws and our entire crew and am just trying to get better at this job."
That statement is a glimmer of hope for football fans everywhere. Well, those with no ties to the University of Miami.
NFL and Monday Night Football fans around the country constantly poke fun at Gruden during the season, mostly because Gruden gets so overly excited while in the booth. Every Monday Night Football game, according to Jon Gruden, is "the best game of the week/season/ever in the history of the NFL" as one fan constantly tells me. This excitement is exactly what makes Gruden arguably the best color commentator this side of Cris Collinsworth
Gruden's knowledge of the game of football cannot be denied. It is Gruden's enthusiasm that makes him so appealing to die hard NFL fans. "Imagine how empty the booth will be if Gruden goes to Miami," a buddy texted me on Tuesday evening. I'm sure Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski are fine men but it's Gruden that is the star of the show each Monday night. Awhile back, a friend came up with the perfect analogy to describe the greatness that is Jon Gruden in the announcing booth.
He's the Jim Ross of Monday Night Football. For those unfamiliar, Ross was the lead announcer for WWE's Monday Night Raw program up until 2008. One reason fans dislike the new announcer is that he does not make everything seem important as Ross did while announcing "matches." This is a big deal because the point of any television program, whether it be a football game, a scripted wrestling match or a sitcom, is to keep viewers interested in the program. Gruden does so each and every Monday night. It doesn't matter if Arizona is facing off against San Francisco in a game that the casual fan could not possibly care less about. Gruden genuinely cares about the action that is happening on the field, and he's going to tell you why he feels so strongly about it throughout the contest.
Gruden is so "football smart" that his enthusiasm doesn't seem like it's forced, like he is just some guy being paid gobs to keep me watching a football game. Because he knows more about football than 95 percent of the audience, I'm going to believe Gruden when he tells me something regarding the sport is important. This is what Monday Night Football will miss is Gruden heads off to Miami.
Which, unfortunately for football fans like the ones I've spoken with, is likely going to happen. In the end, guys like Jon Gruden just can't stay away from the sidelines, especially if the money is right (and trust me, the money is going to be right). The only thing we can do now is root for the San Francisco 49ers to lose out, resulting in the firing of head coach Mike Singletary. Singletary, unable to find another head coaching position in the NFL, could then fill in for Gruden in the booth.
That'd be gold, Jerry. Gold.
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