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September 4, 2015

Monday Night Football shakeup: Kornheiser out, Gruden in

by Allison Waldman, posted May 18th 2009 3:37PM
Monday nightThere'll be a new face in the Monday Night Football booth this season. Pardon The Interruption's Tony Kornheiser is out after three years and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach – and Super Bowl winner -- Jon Gruden, is in. Gruden, who was dumped by the Bucs at the end of last season, has been sitting in on ESPN as a commentator, so this is a logical progression for him, although he does claim that he wants to be a head coach again some time in the future.

That's an interesting notion because usually when a guy gets into the booth, he doesn't get out. Dick Vermeil is one of the few to jump back and forth; John Madden, who retired from NBC less than a month ago, was one who never returned to the sidelines.

Gruden, who's nicknamed "Chucky" because he looks like the character from the horror films, will be teamed with play-by-play man, Mike Tirico, and analyst Ron Jaworski. Gruden will have a difficult task. The three man in the booth, a concept begun by MNF when it was Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell, and Don Meredith. Alex Karras and Dennis Miller both tried their hand at the role. Kornheiser was just the latest. Now, it'll be up to Gruden.

Monday Night Football returns to ESPN September 14th with a doubleheader; New England vs. Buffalo at 7 p.m., followed by San Diego vs. Oakland at 10:15.

If you ever listen to Kornheiser on Pardon The Interruption, it's not a big surprise that he's decided to give up the gig. He has never been happy with the traveling – he doesn't like flying – and he complains endlessly about what a shlep it is to do the broadcast. He's probably happier now that he doesn't have to do the games anymore.

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Kornheiser is still keeping PTI, so ESPN isn't getting rid of him. PTI is a great show anyways. I don't think the complaining act was supposed to be in the booth, not sure what TPTB at ESPN were thinking in the beginning.

Chucky did some work at the NFL Network, and he was ok there. They should have kept the Sunday Night Football team together. They were great.

May 18 2009 at 6:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Though the timing was unexpected, it isn't surprising news. Kornheiser made it clear in the months leading up to his first MNF broadcast that he never wanted the gig, and he predicted he'd be a complete failure. Like me, he's a ball of nervousness and anxiety, and live TV on a stage this big is too much for him to handle.

He did what his ESPN masters wanted, and now he's happy to get the heck out of dodge.

It helps that he doesnt need the money anymore *laugh*

May 18 2009 at 5:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like Kornheiser on PTI and on the radio. The problem is, what makes him funny/entertaining doesn't translate on MNF ... same for Dennis Miller. I understand some folks just plain don't like Kornheiser (some folks never got Dennis Miller either) ... it's all about personal taste, but I am glad he's moving on ... hopefully to a new radio gig where he's much more entertaining.

May 18 2009 at 5:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to colbyjack's comment

I agree on both Kornheiser and Miller. Funny, but didn't translate to the booth well.

Chucky is a decent analyst, but he's drab on TV. Tirico is about as annoying as a TV personality can get. Jaws is ok, nothing more. I hope all the games are outstanding because if not, these broadcasts are going to hit the skids.

May 19 2009 at 8:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Freak Mojo

Kornheiser sucked anyway... although I'd love to see Jaws go away as well. It'll be interesting to see how Gruden and Jaws interact.

May 18 2009 at 4:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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