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October 22, 2014

Sorry, Notre Dame, Jon Gruden's committed to ESPN

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 16th 2009 4:04PM
jon_gruden_ESPNThings are not going well for Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis. He's in the midst of a rough season, not likely to make a bowl game, and rumors are rampant that he will be fired after a five-year-term that has not brought the university a national championship. The number one name on the lips of everyone to replace Weis is ESPN analyst, and Super Bowl-winning head coach, Jon Gruden. However, this morning ESPN locked up Gruden with an extension on his current contract which expands his responsibilities as an ESPN talking head.

In addition to sticking with the ESPN Monday Night Football color commentary role -- in which he's pretty much been Mr. Enthusiasm -- Gruden will be working the NFL Draft, the Pro Bowl, Super Bowl week, and on radio the Rose Bowl and the BCS game. Basically, if Gruden is talking football, he's doing it on ESPN air.

Gruden's extension makes sense in light of the Notre Dame situation. Gruden would be just the kind of high-profile football superstar that Notre Dame would want to recruit. He's got a huge public personality, a recognizable face and image, and a football pedigree. He even has a colorful nickname, "Chucky," as in the Child's Play movies with the evil looking doll. When angry, Gruden and Chucky share facial similarities.

There's also reason to believe that Gruden's dream coaching job might've been ND. His father was an assistant coach in South Bend under Dan Devine, and Jon had wanted to attend the university, but passed up the chance because he didn't think he'd ever get on the field. Presumably, he was no Rudy.

So now, ESPN gets to keep him. That's not a bad thing, but it would be better if Gruden channeled a wee bit more Chucky and got a little surly during the broadcasts, you know, just for fun.

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