The decision of the Redskins to hire the younger brother of Jon Gruden to be the team’s coach raises an interesting question regarding Jon Gruden’s primary employment.
When the Redskins land on Monday Night Football, will Jon be welcome at the practices and production meetings involving the team Jay Gruden’s team will be playing?
While the situation could indeed create some discomfort, ESPN plans to make no adjustments when the Redskins are playing.
“Jon is our Monday Night Football analyst,” ESPN said in a statement forwarded to PFT. “If we have the Redskins, he will call the games. We will be transparent about their relationship. Jon is a professional and will call the games objectively.”
That doesn’t address whether issues will arise when Jon Gruden wants to sit down with, for example, the Cowboys’ coaching staff or to interview key players or to watch a walk-through. The family relationship will indeed create concern that Jon will share with Jay information he acquires via his special access.
As far as we know, it wasn’t an issue when ESPN had Bengals games on Monday Night Football during Jay Gruden’s time as offensive coordinator. It happened twice; against the Ravens in 2012 and against the Steelers in 2013.
Still, the connection is more obvious now that Jay Gruden coaches the Redskins and Jon Gruden has a unique position to obtain information that could be shared among brothers. While we’re willing to give the Grudens the benefit of the doubt on this one, the ultra-secretive and mega-paranoid men who coach NFL teams may not be quite as understanding.