They came to study football plays. We can only guess what kind of plays. Plays to make Tim Tebow a successful NFL quarterback? Who knows.But they came to Jon Gruden’s office in Tampa, and they came twice a week — Mondays and Tuesdays.
They were football coaches. Probably football coaches in search of a team to coach.
Or something to do during football season.
“We’ve been working together,” Gruden said. “Collaborating. Studying different aspects of the game.”
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It’s always football with Gruden, which is fine, because he’s a football coach. Or was, until the Glazers decided to blow up the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaching staff back in January.
Since then Gruden has been an ex-football coach and an analyst for the NFL Network. He was a pretty good analyst too, judging by his work at the NFL Combine and Draft.
So it’s not hard to see why ESPN would want Gruden for the Monday Night Football booth, now that Tony Kornheiser decided he doesn’t want to fly anymore.
Good for Kornheiser. Better for us. Gruden will do just fine as an analyst on MNF.
He’s smart. He’s funny.
Let’s just hope he doesn’t soften his critiques so as not to offend a possible employer.
This isn’t long term for Gruden. He’s not John Madden or Jimmy Johnson. Gruden wants back in.
He’s been coaching for 23 years. He sees this as nothing more than heading to the locker room after the second quarter.
“Kind of like it’s halftime of my life,” Gruden said Monday during a conference call.
Having a former coach in the booth instead of a sports columnist will be refreshing. Kornheiser is great on “Pardon the Interruption,” a show so brilliant in its simplicity you wonder why you didn’t think of it first. But he was a poor fit for the MNF booth.
Gruden doesn’t have a tough act to follow.
Not that it would matter if he did.
Gruden will treat this job as it were the football team he’s charged with beating on Monday night.
He will be prepared, because all he does is prepare.
Also, it’s Monday Night Football, and those three words still mean something to those who can remember Dandy Don.
Gruden, like a lot of us, used to beg his mom to let him stay up late on Mondays so he could watch the game.
“I love Monday Night Football,” Gruden said.
The MNF theme song? Gruden said he has it on a CD.
“I’ve been listening to it for the last two days,” he said. “It gets me going. It gets my juices going.”
Are you ready for some Gruden?