Jaworski suggests that age was a factor in MNF decision

A week ago, ESPN dropped a bombshell on the football-watching world with the prodemotion of Ron Jaworski from Monday Night Football.

Jaworski has called it “bittersweet,” Jon Gruden created the impression that he didn’t agree with the move, and Mike Tirico told Dan Patrick on Friday that Tirico was told the reason for the move but added, “I’m not going to share that with everybody because that’s not everybody’s business.”

Jaworski also has addressed the situation on 97.5 The Fanatic with Mike Missanelli (via SportsRadioInterviews.com), once again calling it “bittersweet.”  Jaworski also provides more on the basis for the move.

He starts off by explaining that the reasons are “pure speculation based on what I’ve heard from our president, John Skipper, and [executive vice president] Norby Williamson and [executive vice president] John Wildhack.”

If so, that’s not speculation.  That’s fact.

“They just feel that a two-man booth was the way to go,” Jaworski said.  “And obviously, I’m the odd man out.  I’m the 60-year-old guy and Jon’s the young guy that they believe is the future.  I’m not going to argue with that. . . .  I think what was crystal clear is they had great respect for me, incredible respect, which I truly appreciate. . . .  They put me in a position that is really, really good in giving me the platforms to develop some of my own programming to do some things that I’ve always wanted to do. And at the end of the day, they’re paying me a lot of money, so I can’t argue with any of that.”

It sounds like Jaworski believes ESPN selected Gruden over Jaworski based on age:  “I’m the 60-year-old guy and Jon’s the young guy that they believe is the future.”

If anyone at ESPN actually told him that, ESPN has potential liability to Jaworski for age discrimination.

Of course, the fact that ESPN is paying Jaws a lot of money to continue working for ESPN goes a long way toward keeping him from filing suit.  Which, if Jaworski’s speculation is based on, you know, information that is true would have resulted in ESPN paying Jaws a lot of money to not work at ESPN.

57 responses to “Jaworski suggests that age was a factor in MNF decision

  1. That’s Creed from The Office. He’s the “old” guy who, pictured here, attempted to dye his hair when he thought he was going to be fired… for being old.

  2. I always liked Jaworski. Early in his career he would break down a play like no other. Gruden never says anything and Tirico, he is definately second tier. But it is ESPN, what do you expect.

  3. Thank God jaws is a bitter old man, thats bias against teams that beat him. Cough cough raiders superbowl 15! But john gruden does say I really love this guy a lot!

  4. Who in their right mind would rather listen to Gruden over Jaws? MNF is getting harder and harder to watch every year. Dennis Miller, Tony Kornheiser…sheesh, MNF has had a rough time trying to replace Al, Frank, and Dan.

    Stick Matt Millen up there with Tirico and be done with it.

  5. Yea jaws I’m sure it had nothing to do with your garbage analysis. Now if they would just dump Tirico.

    PS. Great pic from the US version of The Office. Creed Bratton everyone…

  6. Recent SC rulings (2009) make it harder for plaintiffs to “prove” age discrimination. Example. ESPN could simply assert Jaworski’s playing experience 23 years ago was too far removed from evolving changes in today’s game, diminishing his capacity to provide consistently insightful analyses.

  7. Is the entertainment world really treated the same as normal employment when it comes to age discrimination?

  8. It should have been Gruden. Except the bosses couldn’t talk over him to tell him he was fired.

  9. I wish it had been Gruden to go. That being said, Jaws needs to just be quiet about the age thing because football broadcasting seems pretty fair to older guys: Keith Jackson, Pat Summerall, Madden, Ditka, Lou Holz…just to name a few who either are still going or were allowed to leave on their own terms at ages far older than what Jaws is. And they didn’t fire Jaws–they signed him to a new contract and moved him to a different job.

    I think if Jaws had concentrated on breaking down plays rather than trying to outdo Gruden in kissing guys’ behinds, he’d have lasted much longer in the booth.

  10. Age has nothing to do with it. He was 56 when they hired him. Summerall, Madden, Michaels all excelled in the job well past 65. If he were any good he’d still have the job.

  11. I’ll cast my vote for removing everyone from the booth and just showing us games with the stadium sounds only.

    I’d go for some kind of small captioned area with the basic stats of who did what, but otherwise I think I’d appreciate the quiet. NFL announcers and analysts must get paid by the word.

  12. Yes, age and the fact THAT YOU TOTALLY SUCKED AT YOUR JOB !!!!!!! were the reasons behind your firing. Now all we need is for Chucky to go back to coaching and I can start watching the game without having the tv on mute.

  13. I would rather have seen them toss Gruden. Say what you want, but Jaws did his homework and offered really good insight, not just into the QB posistion, but the entire game. The guy prepares very well and knows his stuff. I like that as a football fan…

    Gruden obviously knows the game too, but presents it in a way I don’t care for. He always talks as if he’s setting up his next interview and never offers constructive critisism of any player.

    I demand a knowledgeable and proficient Monday night team.

  14. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Feb 20, 2012 3:28 PM

    Is an employer really open to an age discrimination lawsuit for giving an employee a raise and just moving him to another assignment?


    Technically yes he would be able to obtain a judgment. But practically under the scenario you outlined it would be very difficult to show that he is entitled to anything more than a nominal amount. He would have to show he was damaged financially because of ESPN’s conduct.

  15. “If anyone at ESPN actually told him that, ESPN has potential liability to Jaworski for age discrimination.”

    One would hope that an attorney would listen carefully to Jaworski when he said the age issue is just his ‘pure speculation.’ That means it was never stated as a reason.

  16. I know he slipped and dropped the “S” word on one broadcast, I guess ESPN is getting strict. First Hank Williams Jr. and now Jaworski, 0 tolerance lol!!!!!!!!!

  17. @hooterdawg . . . .

    He said it was speculation BASED ON WHAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE COMPANY TOLD HIM. Jaws wasn’t simply throwing darts on this one.

    Regardless, the point is he thinks it was based on his age. ESPN has no significant liability because he remains employed and, more importantly, he has no motivation to sue.

    @not related . . . .

    Later Skater.

  18. MNF crew is the only bad crew in the NFL. I can listen to anyone else but their jabbering is distracting and awful. Perhaps one less mouth will mean less tedious ‘banter’.

    If I hear Tirico pronounce a rule and then get it wrong ten seconds later by the ref, i might completely mute it.

    PS. The monday schedule contibuted to the awfulness. Jags, Bucs, Rams play on mondays. Not a good sign for Espn.

  19. If he had gotten let go altogether, they probably would have given him enough of a severance deal so that he would shut up about age discrimination. Very few age cases go to court because they don’t get the severance deal if they don’t sign away their right to sue. And if he’s still working there, you can’t sue your employer anyway.

  20. will ESPN ever get this MNF right? I hope the NFL network takes MNF over, I realize the revenue stream, but I actually enjoyed the broadcast crew on Thursday nights.

  21. I really like Jaws in the booth, a lot more than Gruden. Gruden kisses too much butt and is overrated due to his self proclaimed “work ethic.” He was mediocre with the Raiders and he won the SB with Dungy’s Bucs, plus knowing the Raiders playbook (plus without Robbins-C).

  22. Are you seriously trying to call out the NFL for age discrimination?
    Next we’re going to want NFL players to be accountable for things like drunk driving, rape and murder…

  23. It was based on awful.
    Makes you wonder how they evaluate talent at that network. Gruden is a dud too. I didnt think much of the reviever guy on Sunday night for ABC , but he is growing on me.

    Why the hell cant people see what Fox accomplished with smart, genuine, accomplished guys like Moose and Goose. Get two good guys, put one on the side line and let him actually comentate from that vantage. Best broadcasters in the game in my mind.

  24. jazzytrav says:
    Feb 20, 2012 3:42 PM
    Who in their right mind would rather listen to Gruden over Jaws? MNF is getting harder and harder to watch every year. Dennis Miller, Tony Kornheiser…sheesh, MNF has had a rough time trying to replace Al, Frank, and Dan.

    Stick Matt Millen up there with Tirico and be done with it.


    ugh…..everytime i see matt millen on tv… i question his analysis…given how incredibly inept he was in detroit

  25. I always enjoyed Jaws on those shows where he breaks everything down so even Howie Roseman(eagles GM,former bean counter for Joe Banner) could understand but that being said I still feel strongly the “brain trust” at ESPN are making a mistake on this one….

  26. When did booth get to small for 3 guys? This is Espns way of keeping chuckie from taking a head coaching job somewhere. Bad move by Espn, Jaws watches more film than some coaches, and brings great insight to booth.

  27. Jaworski is pulling a pathetic card.

    He was fired for sucking with Philly, and now sucking in the booth. The worst blowhard associated with football nowadays – and with Rex in the NFL, that’s saying something.

  28. I don’t even watch MNF anymore. The booth is lame, the games usually suck and they don’t have Faith Hill. Tirico is….well…I don’t know how to describe him…vanilla?

    The Sunday night product is superior.

  29. I can’t watch MNF with Gruden, he’s so bad. He just says stupid things and is constantly chattering with that annoying voice. Jaws made it palatable…If i can find a radio feed I’ll have to watch with the TV turned down and the radio on.

    Gruden sucks.

  30. I like Jaws, but he wasn’t a great fit for that job. He’s a “long form” guy who deals in complex analysis that takes time to set up and explain. He breaks down tape, he studies the intricacies of the game.

    That’s not what the booth needs. It needs talking muppet heads who repeat boring and unoriginal nonsense that sounds familiar and helps set the atmosphere we’ve come to expect.

    That’s why Gruden is perfect, he’s white noise to fill time between plays with easily-forgotten drivel.

    Aside from him insisting that Josh Freeman was 6’8″ 280 at the end of a game, and prasing every player, I cannot remember one insightful thing that has ever come out of his mouth.

  31. Does anybody remember how unbearable it was when they kept brining in “famous” people into the both who pretended they actually understood the game?

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