Gruden Goes Prime Time: Censors Get Ready


Richard Pryor hosted Saturday Night Live in its flagship season of 1975.  The interesting thing about that broadcast is that it wasn’t actually live.  Pryor’s comedy was so cutting edge and profane at the time that NBC used a delay, as they were uncertain what he might say next.


ESPN may want to consider borrowing that delay this season as Monday Night Football has announced the addition of Jon Gruden to its broadcast booth.  Gruden will replace Tony Kornheiser who no longer wanted to deal with the constant traveling.  Gruden joins Brian Billick, Mike Holmgren and Bill Cowher as Super Bowl winning coaches who have traded their headsets for earpieces.  They are all likely candidates to eventually return to the sidelines.


Gruden is a rare breed though.  After Gruden replaced the beloved Tony Dungy as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach in 2002, former Buc Derrick Brooks was asked to describe the difference between the two men.  Without hesitation, Brooks replied “Coach Gruden curses a lot.” 





Gruden’s presence in the MNF booth could give new meaning to the term ‘color commentary.’  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of profanity.  An uncensored Monday Night Football might just liven up the show.  “Hey, Mike, how the &*@^# are ya’?”  or “Holy *&#@, Dan!  Did you see that *&^#!@ catch?”  But addressing the public on one of the most watched television programs in history is different from diagramming plays or belittling quarterbacks.  Chuckie accidentally cursing on air would be the biggest NFL gaffe since Justin Timberlake revealed Janet Jackson’s nipple at the Super Bowl. 


While in Tampa, Gruden was consistently linked to college coaching vacancies, particularly Notre Dame because of his Midwestern roots.  While I’m not naïve enough to think F-bombs don’t fly around college locker rooms, it is unlikely Domer parents would approve of Chris Rock’s pre-game speeches.  Dennis Miller’s rants probably pale in comparison to uncensored Gruden tirades.


Gruden’s charisma is undeniable, yet despite leading the Bucs to a Super Bowl victory in his first year as coach, he could never completely shake the Dungy legacy.  In the six years after winning football’s ultimate prize, Gruden never duplicated his early success and was terminated in January 2009.  By his final season, which ended with four straight losses, Gruden had worn out his welcome and was ultimately ostracized by Tampa fans, leaving few supporters behind. 


Gruden’s dedication and work ethic are unrivaled.  He’s a fascinating character as long as he’s not driving your favorite football team into the ground.  He was consistently one of the best sound-bites in football, after a win or a loss.  His sneer is priceless.  He was even voted one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People.


This exposure will give America a better look at Coach Gruden and they’ll likely enjoy what they see and hear.  Producers may just want to keep their finger on the delay button in the meantime.

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15 Replies to “Gruden Goes Prime Time: Censors Get Ready”

  1. Hubby is still ticked he missed the wardrobe malfunction of JJ. He was umm…indisposed. I like Chucky. I wanna see some sneers, growls and a screwy-looking face.

    Ciao Kornholio. I’m sure more greatness awaits you.

  2. OK, let me get that image out of my head!

    Oh yeah, your blog – some folks can’t enunciate without swearing (cussing in the South) so let it fly!

  3. Hmmm….Well now. I all of a sudden have an interest in MNF. I guess I’ll be stocking up on white zin and Bacardi coolers for me and my girlfriends. Now we can watch the new “bad boy” of commentators. What a passionate fella, this could be fun! ha ha I hope he can get through the season. @*&%&*@ it!!!!!!!!!!!
    Oh well….if he doesn’t quite do the job well enough……they could always call Gruden to get the job done.

  4. The Bucs problem is the guys up in the tower (ie-owners)…well it use to be anyway…just my #$@&-ing opinion! And like asses, we all have them.

    Humph…The poker game has done quite well last few weeks…Had Boston & SnoopDaaymon going nuts. Took $150. Got up early so was not afraid to call those “I have mo money than u so u will eventually fold – even if I am playing 2-8 suited”. Had some good cards & a lotta luck, but I’ll take it.

  5. He still took us to the promised land. Dungy never did that. As frustrating as Gruden became and as tired as his performance was, it was still nothing compared to watching the Bucs lay down for a second time in Philly under Dungy, with a second half monotony of an ineffective Mike Alstott, down by a few touchdowns. Gruden’s sound bite’s are classic. MNF is the perfect forum for him. And you’re right, he’ll definately be on the sidelines again. Any real Tampa Bay fan has to love Gruden!

  6. SuperCarrier… that is a great take, man. Every Bucs fan I’ve talked to was tired of his act. And he really did have soem screwups last season.

    Just like we can never hate Spurrier or even Lon Kruger for the same reasons, I guess Gruden deserves a little bit of love.

    That being said, it was time for a change.

  7. I just hope Gruden doesnt tame himself down. I’m assuming they got him for a reason, because he’s animated.

    It might take him a while to find that groove but I’ll enjoy listening to him.

  8. Chris
    Gruden’ll be what we’ve always known him to be. Opinionated as usual. But don’t for a minute think that his sensitivity will anytheless be diminished.

    I see our boy Ryan Leaf is up his neck in it once again. He’s been arrested for breaking and entering and also the possession of narcotics and prescriptive medication. In this case Oxycodone.

    Isn’t life grand ?

    tophatal ……….

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