Tirico talks about MNF change, won’t comment on why it was made

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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.

26 responses to “Tirico talks about MNF change, won’t comment on why it was made

  1. In fairness, Gruden isn’t necessarily the worst broadcaster in the modern era.

    He’s just the worst among those who have been allowed to do it.

    So, it is possible (slightly) that there MIGHT be someone worse than him who was just never given the opportunity.

  2. They should fire them both and bring back Summeral and Madden. I was never a huge fan of either, but now that they are gone, its obvious that they wont soon be replaced by anyone out there.

    If you want a guy with that great voice, you have to hire an older broadcaster, and they only hire young guys these days unfortunately.

  3. one day mike tirico will learn to do what he does best and just broadcast the game. when he gives his opinion, he just sounds arrogant and off base.

    Broadcast the game, then zip it

  4. People still listen to the announcers? Why? If they offend you that much do as I do when I watch MNF. I turn down the sound and listen to some good music in the background. I’ve been doing so since the days of Dandy Don, Howard and Frank. Try it some times. It works that way for me.

  5. Gruden and Tirico are great at what they do. The more and more I keep reading comments on various posts, the more off point most of you guys are. I use to read comments on here and felt that I was reading stuff from credible, level headed fans, now I feel as if I’m reading comments from TMZ or something.

    As anyone in the business about Tirico and they will tell you he is one of the best and that Gruden is doing a great job.

  6. Hello. Is that you James?

    Hey guy, when your job is public relations and the public doesn’t exactly like you very much, and there are tons of retired ex-NFL employees, it doesn’t really matter what management thinks. It’s a public relations job.

    50/50 doesn’t work for me either. If 50% of us don’t like him and 50% do, theres plenty of other people that can do better than a so-so performance in their public relations job, considering public relations requires success to typically keep your job, not just ‘mediocrity’ because guess what? We all see the mediocrity, this isn’t us spying inside a business and scrutinizing an employee, this is us being talked to and half of us not liking it so how hard is it to replace him with any of the other thousands of people lined up for the job, if that one doesn’t work out so what ESPN just got into the business of MNF and they still suck at is so we’ll give them plenty of credit and time.

    There is no such thing as an excuse for a business. Especially when it comes to public relations.

  7. Partick should’ve asked Tirico why ESPN gave Harold Reynolds the boot and promoted him…..

  8. Gruden will never be “that guy” until he makes up his mind that he will not ever coach again. Until then he will always praise (suck up to) everyone in the league.

  9. TheMonster49….

    There is a reason why they have people making these decisions for who to put in the booth and announce games and not the fans. If it was up to the fans who announced the games, any company would lose instant credibility and it would completely destroy the brand in which they are going for.

  10. 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.

    I always thought that was the plan when they brought Gruden on.

  11. First, a two-man booth is always better than a three-man booth. So, from that perspective, this is an improvement.

    Second, the combination of a professional broadcaster with journalism training and experience with a former coach and/or player with technical insight is better than any other combination.

    Third, Mike Tirico is a nice guy, but too bland, and offers little in the way of journalistic insight.

    Fourth, Jon Gruden is enthusiastic, but if you listen carefully, offers little technical insight.

    Finally, although I don’t think this will be the best available, I really don’t listen much to mediocre announcers when I watch a football game anyway. Rather, I listen only where one or both of the announcers meet the above criteria.

  12. noeffinway says: Feb 17, 2012 12:22 PM

    Gruden will never be “that guy” until he makes up his mind that he will not ever coach again.
    This is likely why CBS keeps Cowher in the studio – he’s a threat to jump any given year, so why groom him in the booth and have a PBP partner spend time working with him if he may go back to coaching? Gruden can sign all the ESPN contracts/extensions he wants, but if they always include a coaching escape, then he’s not committed to the booth.

  13. I wish to Cthulhu I knew the secret for pulling in a good AM radio signal – if I could, I’d listen to the radio broadcast of MNF and never have to suffer through crap like Dennis Miller, Tony Kornholer, or Chucky again.

  14. Besides the over-analyzing, I didn’t like how he criticized WRs for obvious mistakes the QBs made. He was also too emotional, like when he blew a gasket at Gruden for suggesting that the Rams might want to consider drafting RG III.

  15. I’m not a fan of Tirico on MNF. In fact I wasn’t a fan of him when ESPN did their “experiment” with him in the Nascar booth.

  16. Gruden is a blowhard. I sensed many times last season that both Tirico and Jaws would’ve loved to tell Chucky to shut the hell up.

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