Tirico and Gruden are going to be flying solo next season and, in exchange, Jaws is going to be...pretty much everywhere else:
For just the sixth time in its 42-year history on television, "Monday Night Football" next season will feature a two-person broadcast team.
Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will call the games for ESPN starting in 2012. Ron Jaworski is leaving the booth but has signed a five-year extension with ESPN in an expanded analyst role with the company.
"I am grateful for having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of working on 'Monday Night Football' the past five seasons with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and so many other talented people behind the scenes who make the show so great, and I look forward to bringing my passion and knowledge of the game to more fans in more places than ever before on any and all football topics," Jaworski said in a statement.
Jaworski has been in the "Monday Night Football" booth for the past five seasons. He originally joined ESPN in 1990 and has worked in a number of roles, from sideline reporter to studio host to analyst.
Jaworski will make regular appearances on "Sunday NFL Countdown", "NFL Matchup", "NFL Live", "NFL Kickoff", "Mike & Mike in the Morning" and PTI's "Five Good Minutes." He also will be featured in ESPN's NFL draft and Super Bowl programming.
I would love to have been a fly on the wall for the Jaws negotiations. It sounds like someone wanted Jaws out, but Jaws wasn't about to go quietly unless he got a good deal out of it.
Too bad. I don't think he was great (and yet I don't have cartoon hate for him the way Deadspin does), but I thought he was at least competent. Tirico and Gruden are going to be the blandest duo this side of Buck and Aikman.
Yeah, I liked Jaws a lot more than I like Gruden. Both guys definitely fall victim to the "overpraise the guy we're watching as a superstar" style of announcing, but Jaws isn't afraid to criticize guys once in a while, whereas a player would have to commit murder on the field for Gruden to badmouth someone. Also, maybe it's just me, but Gruden always sounds like he's focusing first on putting over the Jon Gruden: Football Expert brand while Jaws just focused on calling the game.
"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone." --- Bart Giamatti, on baseball
I'd guess there will be some promotional stuff associated with this game, and the NFL wants to keep this going, so the week before might be the best bet. They'll have the bye one of those weeks though.