Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden has agreed to an exclusive agreement with ESPN that will keep him on sports television’s signature series and out of coaching for the next five years. The new contract begins in September 2012.
Since joining ESPN in May 2009, Gruden has teamed with play-by-play commentator Mike Tirico and analyst Ron Jaworski – earning two Sports Emmy Award nominations in the Best Analyst category – to help make MNF the most-watched series in cable television history. The Super Bowl-winning coach has contributed to ESPN’s annual NFL Draft and Super Bowl week coverage and other platforms. He was also part of the MNF team that called the 2010 NFL Pro Bowl.
In addition to his NFL role, Gruden has called a handful of marquee college football telecasts for ESPN, including the Rose Bowl (2010) and Bowl Championship Series National Championship games (2010 and 2011) for ESPN Radio, and the 2011 Outback and Orange bowl games.
Gruden has been widely praised for his groundbreaking SportsCenter Special: QB Camp prime time shows which have become a popular part of ESPN’s annual pre-NFL Draft coverage. The in-depth, one-on-one interviews and film sessions have featured Gruden mentoring top quarterback prospects such as first-round NFL Draft picks Sam Bradford, Cam Newton, and Tim Tebow.
“Our Monday Night Football crew is special, and to have the opportunity to continue to be a part of this team, working these big-time NFL prime time games every week on ESPN, I’m fired up,” said Gruden.
Norby Williamson, executive vice president, production, added: “Jon has made a remarkable transition from Super Bowl-winning head coach to one of the premier football analysts in our business. His long-term commitment to ESPN will continue to elevate our Monday Night Football presentation and we look forward to finding even more opportunities to take advantage of his passion for football and unique insights into the game.”
Bob LaMonte, Gruden’s agent, added: “Jon is a rare individual who has been successful at everything he has done, going from one of the youngest coaches to win a Super Bowl to reinventing himself with this new broadcasting career in his 40s. He has an unmistakable enthusiasm for football that will continue to entertain fans on ESPN.”
Gruden served as an NFL head coach for 11 seasons with the Oakland Raiders (1998-2001) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002-08). He compiled a career record of 100-85 and led his teams to five division titles. Gruden’s best season was 2002 when the Buccaneers finished the regular season 12-4 and captured the Super Bowl XXXVII title with a 48-21 victory over the Raiders, the team he had coached just one season earlier. At the time, the championship made then 38-year-old Gruden the youngest head coach ever to win a Super Bowl.
Gruden began his NFL coaching career in 1990 with the San Francisco 49ers as an assistant in charge of quality control. He quickly ascended through the ranks, also serving as the Green Bay Packers wide receivers coach (1992-94) and the Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator (1995-97).