By Craig Filazzola, WSOE Sports Director
Jon Gruden, former coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will shift from the sidelines to announcing ESPN’s Monday Night Football in the press box next season. He replaces Tony Kornheiser as color commentator, joining commentator Ron Jaworski and play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico.
I didn’t see Gruden’s broadcasting resume. What does it look like? Oh wait, there isn’t one. Hey, I get it. Former coaches and players have been announcing their games for many years. A few of them are great, most are average, and others are terrible. That’s how it goes.
However, Gruden shouldn’t have been handed such a prestigious position in broadcasting. He has never spent a season as color commentator or studio analyst anywhere. He was only a guest analyst on the NFL network for scouting and draft coverage. What makes him qualified to be a color announcer for Monday Night Football?
At least be a consistent analyst for a show. At least have some television presence other than yelling at the referees and collapsing at the end of last season, losing the last four games and failing to reach the playoffs.
Gruden may be entertaining, but there’s a lot more to being a good announcer than that. He needs quality broadcasting experience. I would rather see him be a color commentator for regional NFL games on CBS or FOX than to start immediately on a national stage.
If not Gruden, then who would I pick? Well, here’s my list of color announcers or studio analysts who are a lot more qualified to announce Monday Night Football.
1. Troy Aikmen – FOX color announcer since 2001, announced two Super Bowls (XXXIX and XLII), very clear and concise, delivers excellent points
2. Phil Simms – CBS color announcer since 1998, announced four Super Bowls (XXX, XXXII, XXXV, and XXXVIII), very experienced, easy to understand
3. Tom Jackson – Monday Night Football studio analyst for three years, good TV personality, provides useful arguments
4. Steve Young – Monday Night Football studio analyst for three years, explains the game well, modest in making points
5. Charles Davis – NFL Network Total Access analyst for two years, announced last 3 BCS National Championship games, easy to listen to, gets his points across well
WSOE Sports Director