In a rare appearance of an ESPN personality on The Dan Patrick Show, Mike Tirico talked about this week’s surprising “prodemotion” (our word, not Tirico’s) of Ron Jaworski from the Monday Night Football booth.
Tirico initially created the impression that he has no knowledge as to why the change was made. “I don’t know the management specifics of the how and the why,” Tirico said.
But Dan later pressed Tirico on the mechanics of how Tirico was informed of the move from three to two in the booth, and specifically whether Tirico asked the obvious question: “Why?”
“I did say ‘Why?,’ and honestly I’m not going to share that with everybody because that’s not everybody’s business, and the answer I got I believe,” Tirico said.
Tirico also conceded that criticism of Jon Gruden’s incessant praise of players, coaches, and teams was “legitimate” a couple of years ago, but Tirico believes Gruden has adjusted. We (or at least I) continue to believe that the powers-that-be are hoping to coax “Chucky” out of Gruden; if Gruden ever becomes on Monday night the guy that he is the other 6.85 days of the week, he’ll be the next John Madden.
The only plausible explanation for the move to two remains that management wants to give Gruden the spotlight in the hopes that he becomes, to borrow one of his terms, “that guy.” Even if there was a genuine belief that Jaworski could serve the network better by appearing on multiple other platforms, there had to be someone else on the payroll who could have stepped in and maintained the three-man approach.
So someone decided that it should be Gruden and Tirico, and no one else. And the deeper goal seems to be ensure that Gruden will eventually choose to never return to coaching, even though Tirico said he believes Gruden eventually will.